The 3 Stages of Postpartum Bleeding

It’s not that normal for us to chat with our friends about what to expect when you’re bleeding after you have your baby. Afterall, it’s not a sexy topic. In fact, feminine bleeding when it comes to menstruation and the postnatal period is a little bit taboo in many social circles. But here at MamaSoup, we bust through all of the barriers so YOU can have an informed birth experience!

So with that in mind,


Let’s talk about postpartum bleeding!


Vaginal bleeding after having a baby is something that EVERYONE will have to deal with. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of the excess blood and tissue in your uterus that helped your baby grow. And while every person will experience it a little differently, the process follows a pattern.



Postpartum bleeding (also called ‘lochia’)  generally follows 3 stages:


Stage 1. (From Day 2 - 4 After Birth)

Lochia Rubra (Dark Red Bleeding)


What to Expect:

-Like a heavy period

-You may even experience small clots


What you’ll need at this stage:

  • granny panties, mesh undies or Depends (adult diapers)
  • the largest pads you can find on the shelf at the drug store
  • a peri-bottle (hospital or midwife should supply it!)


Stage 2. (Day 4 - Couple of Weeks After Birth)

Lochia Serosa (Pinkish-Brown Bleeding)


What to Expect:

-Not as heavy


What you’ll need at this stage:

  • high-waisted panties if you had a c-section
  • full coverage undies if you had a vaginal birth (no thongs!)
  • pads fit for the heaviest days of your period
  • a peri-bottle


Stage 3. (From 2-6 Weeks After Birth)

Lochia Alba (Whitish-Yellow Bleeding)


What to Expect:

-More like a discharge


What you’ll need at this stage:

  • underwear that allows you to use a panty liner
  • peri-bottle


PRO-TIP: The peri-bottle is your best postpartum friend. Like, seriously. Don’t leave this behind when you leave the hospital! Bring it home with you and continue to use it each time you use the bathroom to keep your perineum clean. Especially if you have stitches or a small tear that’s healing!


Sometimes, your bleeding may seem to be in the third stage but one day you go to the bathroom and notice that it’s red again. Is this a sign of danger? No, not necessarily. But it may be a sign that you did too much so put your feet up, drink some water and give your body the rest that it’s asking you for.

How Much Bleeding is TOO Much?


It’s never okay to saturate a pad in an hour or less. Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) can be a serious complication of birth and it affects up to 5% of women who've given birth. What many people don’t realize is that you have a risk of PPH for up to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If your bleeding suddenly becomes heavy, be sure to seek medical assistance! 


What if my Bleeding Stops Before 6 Weeks?


Every woman will experience the three phases of postpartum bleeding, but yours may stop sooner than six weeks and that’s ok! 

When to Call the Doctor


You’ll need to call the doctor if you experience any of the following:

-vaginal odour

-bright red bleeding beyond the third day postpartum

-clots bigger than a large cherry

-bleeding that soaks more than one sanitary pad an hour and doesn’t slow down or stop

-blurry vision

-fever and/or chills

-clammy skin

-fast heartbeat

-dizziness or feeling faint


Even though postpartum bleeding is a normal response to your body having a baby, we tend to keep quiet about it.

Were you surprised to learn that there’s three phases?

We’re accepting a limited number of virtual doula support clients for moms like you, who may be looking for a little moral and informational support after your baby is born. Click the link below to learn how you can work with us!

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Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup

Hey there, I’m Joanne.

I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!

As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.

Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!

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