Bleeding and Cramping
One week down, five to go until your body fully recoups. While your achy muscles are probably starting to ease up a bit, your body has seen better days – not counting last week. The extent of recovery varies from person to person, but here are some issues you may be dealing with:
The amount of bleeding should have diminished a bit from last week, meaning drugstore sanitary napkins can replace the super-duper diaper-like pads you got from the hospital. However, your uterus is still shrinking down from over 2 pounds to just a mere couple of ounces, expelling blood, mucus and tissue; plus your body basically has a gaping wound from where the placenta was attached. Blood is to be expected.
Every woman’s bleeding pattern is different, but in general:
- You might still be experiencing a bright red flow heavier than your period with clots every now and then. If the clots are bigger than a lemon, call your doctor.
- On the other hand, you could start to see a more menstrual-like flow, looking more pink or brown than shockingly red.
- Breastfeeding moms may experience less bleeding because nursing stimulates the uterus to shrink faster. (Another reason to stick out the nursing!)
- Don’t be surprised if you feel a gush of fluid when you stand up.
- If the bleeding is uncontrollable or you’re bleeding through more than one pad an hour, call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. You could be hemorrhaging – a serious condition that could be life-threatening if not treated.
- Keep maxi pads on hand – and a lot of them. Don’t use tampons, as your uterus is still open. (As if you’d want to stick anything up there right now anyway!)
- The blood shouldn’t have any foul odor. If it does, check in with your doctor.
- The bleeding may last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a full six, with possible spotting even later.
- If you’re not bleeding at all, give your doctor a call.
The contraction-like cramping you experienced after delivery (which, by the way, gets worse with subsequent deliveries – hooray!) should have subsided by now. But if you’re still feeling afterpains – especially if it’s a relentless ache in your lower abdomen – call your doctor to rule out an infection or another serious complication.