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The first 24 hoursBleeding is usually the heaviest at this time, and the blood will be bright red. You may bleed enough to soak about one sanitary pad per hour. You may also pass one to two very large clots, which can be as big as a tomato, or numerous small ones, which may be around the size of a grape.
2 to 6 days after birthBlood loss should slow down. Blood will be darker brown or pink-red. This indicates that the blood is no longer the result of continued bleeding. You may still continue to pass some small clots. They’ll be closer to the size of a pencil eraser.
7 to 10 days after birthBloody discharge may be pink-red or light brown in color. Bleeding will be lighter than the first six days of your period. At this point, you shouldn’t be soaking a pad on a regular basis.
11 to 14 days after birthAny bloody discharge will generally be lighter in color. If you feel like being more active, this could result in some red-tinged discharge. The amount of bleeding should be less than during the first 10 days after birth.
3 to 4 weeks after birthBlood loss should be minimal at this time. However, you may have a cream-colored discharge that could be streaked with brown or light red blood. Sometimes bleeding will totally stop during these weeks. You may also get your period again.
5 to 6 weeks after birthPostpartum-related bleeding will usually stop by weeks five and six. However, you may have an occasional brown, red, or yellow blood spotting. During the weeks after giving birth, women often notice more bleeding at certain times, including:
- in the morning
- after breastfeeding
- after exercising, if your doctor has cleared you to do so
- bright red blood following the third day after birth
- difficulty breathing
- fever higher than 100.4ºF (38ºC)
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- separation of stitches in the perineum or abdomen
- severe headaches
- loss of consciousness
- soaking more than one sanitary pad per hour with blood
- passing very large clots (golf ball-sized or larger) more than 24 hours after giving birth
- chest pain or pressure
- loss of balance
- pain or numbness only on one side
- sudden loss of strength on one side of the body
- sudden, severe headache
- swelling or pain in only one leg
- trouble breathing
Tips for reducing blood clots after birth
- Drink plenty of water and take a stool softener to make your stool easier to pass. This can reduce the risks for disrupting any stitches or tears.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations for postpartum activity. Too much activity could lead to bleeding and affect your healing.
- Wear support hose in the postpartum period. This adds an extra “squeeze” to your lower legs, which helps return blood to your heart and reduces the risk of blood clots.
- Elevate your legs when sitting or lying down.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your stitches to prevent bleeding and reduce the risks for infection.