Ask Sofia: How much postpartum bleeding is normal?
Postpartum bleeding, also known as lochia, is a natural part of the healing process after delivery. According to Dr. Pamela Jordi, you should expect bleeding—with or without clots—like a heavy period for several days post-delivery.
“Most postpartum people choose to wear the hospital-provided large pads and mesh underwear during these first few days,” said Dr. Jordi. “Luckily, this heavy bleeding shows down within the first week to light to moderate bleeding.”
She adds that the first two weeks can be unpredictable and that it’s normal for bleeding to increase or decrease depending on the day. However, by three weeks after delivery, any postpartum bleeding should be very light—this may last up to six weeks. If moderate bleeding persists for six weeks or more, an evaluation including blood work or an ultrasound to check for residual placental tissue is recommended.
On the other hand, abnormal bleeding can occur even after a normal pregnancy and delivery. If you are soaking through two maxi pads in two hours or you have a temperature above 100 degrees, chills or a rapid heartbeat, these can be signs of potential infection so it is important to call your healthcare provider immediately.
“If you ever have concerns about anything postpartum, do not hesitate to call-that’s what we’re here for!” Dr. Jordi added, noting that postpartum bleeding can also be impacted by activity level.