Every new mum bleeds (Lochia) after having her baby, whether the birth was vaginal or by caesarean section. It's how the body gets rid of the lining of uterus (womb) after birth. The blood may come out in gushes, or flow more evenly, similar to a heavy period.
At first, the flow of lochia will be heavy and bright red, and may have clots in it. Gradually, it will change to pink then brown, and eventually to yellow-white.
You may bleed for as little as 2 to 3 weeks. Lochia discharge typically continues for 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth. The flow will gradually become less.
Just stock up on maternity pads before your delivery. Two or three packs of 10 should do to start with but it depends on how long the bleeding lasts. Please discuss with your midwife or doctor.
You may need to change your pad every hour or two to start with, then every three or four hours in the coming days and weeks. Always wash your hands before and after changing the pad.
It's important to buy maternity pads, rather than ordinary sanitary towels. Maternity pads are longer, softer, and much more absorbent. You may switch to sanitary towels when the bleeding reduces. Please check with your midwife or doctor before you switch.
To understand the menstrual cycle, it helps to know about the reproductive organs inside a woman’s body. These are:
Menstruation is a woman's monthly bleeding. When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. Most menstrual periods last from 3 to 7 days.
When periods (menstruations) come regularly, this is called a menstrual cycle. Having a regular menstrual cycle is a sign that important parts of your body are working normally. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle is counted from the first day of 1 period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens.
The rise and fall of levels of hormones during the month control the menstrual cycle.
During your period, you shed the thickened uterine lining and extra blood through the vagina. Your period may not be the same every month. It may also be different than other women's periods. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy in terms of how much blood comes out of the vagina. This is called menstrual flow. The length of the period also varies. Most periods last from 3 to 5 days. But, anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal.
Normally the average age for a girl to get her first period is 12. This does not mean that all girls start at the same age. A girl can start her period anytime between the ages of 8 and 15. Most of the time, the first period starts about 2 years after breasts first start to develop. If a girl has not had her first period by age 15, or if it has been more than 2 to 3 years since breast growth started, she should see a doctor.
Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. A woman is born with all her eggs. Once she starts her periods, one egg (occasionally two) develops and is released during each menstrual cycle.
After ovulation, the egg lives for 24 hours. If you release more than one egg in a month, you will produce that second egg within 24 hours of the first. Pregnancy happens if a man's sperm meet and fertilize the egg. Sperm can survive in the fallopian tubes for up to seven days after sex.
A woman can't get pregnant if ovulation doesn't occur.
Theoretically, there's only a short time when women can get pregnant, and that is the time around ovulation.
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when ovulation happens. In most women, ovulation happens around 10-16 days before the next period.
Women usually have periods until menopause. Menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, usually around age 50. Menopause means that a woman is no longer ovulating (producing eggs) or having periods and can no longer get pregnant. Like menstruation, menopause can vary from woman to woman and these changes may occur over several years.
The time when your body begins its move into menopause is called the menopausal transition. This can last anywhere from 2 to 8 years. Some women have early menopause because of surgery or other treatment, illness, or other reasons. If you don't have a period for 90 days, you should see your doctor. He or she will check for pregnancy, early menopause, or other health problems that can cause periods to stop or become irregular.
Period pain or menstrual cramps is something most women face each month. Usually, they’re not a bad thing. They are a sign that your body is starting another healthy menstrual cycle. But it’s helpful to understand exactly what is happening in your body.
Usually, menstrual cramp pain is mild. But sometimes it can be severe. The pains can vary from sharp stabs that make you double over to a nagging pain that spreads through your belly and lower back. Some women also experience dizziness, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. Severe period pain is called dysmenorrhea
Two Types of Menstrual Cramps
There are two types of menstrual cramps: primary and secondary.
This is a big word for common menstrual cramps caused by your monthly cycle, not disease. You may feel mild to severe pain in your lower abdomen, back and thighs. It starts right before your period and usually lasts between 12-72 hours. This kind of dysmenorrhea is more common in young women and often gets less severe from the mid-20s onward and after giving birth.
This type of dysmenorrhea is usually caused by a disorder in a woman's reproductive organs. Some of these conditions include endometriosis, fibroids, cysts or infection. It can also be caused by using an intrauterine device (IUD) which is a form of contraceptive. The pain usually starts earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than primary dysmenorrheal.
For the first few years after menstruation begins, longer cycles are common. A woman's cycle tends to shorten and become more regular with age. Most of the time, periods will be in the range of 21 to 35 days apart.
Remove the Individual pack
Remove the pad from individual packing with clean hands. Save the packing — This can be used for disposing off the used pad.
Remove the paper from the wings and back
The wings and the back of the pad are covered by a piece of paper that covers the sticky portions of the pad.
Place the Pad
Place the sticky side of the pad (backside) in the lower part of your underwear — the area that goes between your legs. Wrap the wings around the underside of your panties to keep the pad in place.
Dispose of the Pad
After your pad has become saturated, pull it off your undergarment and roll it up in the plastic sheet from your fresh pad. Then toss it in the waste bin. Never flush a pad down the toilet.
You should change a pad before it becomes soaked with blood. Each woman decides for herself what works best. You should change a pad at least every 4 to 8 hours. Always carry additional pads while outdoors and traveling.
Menstrual blood – once it has left the body – gets contaminated with the body’s innate organisms. This rule applies for even those days when you don’t have much bleeding, since your pad is still damp and will have organisms from your vagina, sweat from your genitals, etc. When these organisms remain in a warm and moist place for a long time they tend to multiply and can lead to conditions like urinary tract infection, vaginal infections and skin rashes.
Which sanitary pad is best suited for you.
Simple sanitary pads are made with finest materials to provide extra absorption and softness. Simple sanitary pads come in four types :