Can postpartum bleeding turn into your period?

(March 24, 2010)

Postpartum bleeding is a natural occurrence in all pregnant women, after childbirth. The substance that is discharged from the vagina during this phase is known as lochia and it consists of mucus, placental tissue and blood. While the condition can appear to be quite similar to your monthly period, postpartum bleeding is more intense in the beginning.

At the start, postpartum bleeding could resemble menstrual bleeding, as it is normally bright red in color. After about three or four days, the flow of blood reduces to the kind that you may normally experience during your monthly periods, but the color will change to pinkish-brown. However, the color of the lochia could go back to being bright red, if you are very active or exert yourself too much. In this case, the flow of blood will also increase again. The flow will gradually reduce further, as the color eventually turns yellow or white, before it ends.

In normal cases, postpartum bleeding could last for about two to three weeks, but in some cases, this phase could also last for six to eight weeks, after the birth of the baby. There are also instances where the postpartum bleeding stops and starts again after a short break.

In order to avoid any complications or infections during postpartum bleeding, you need to get as much rest as possible. Throughout the phase, as the flow of blood varies, you need to use a heavy duty maxi pad that can soak up all the blood. Also, the use of a tampon should be avoided, till you get a go-ahead from your doctor. Your first period after childbirth is probably (but not necessarily) a sign of ovulation; it means that you are fertile once again. You period will begin after postpartum bleeding stops.

Generally, after childbirth, a woman does not get her first period till the time she is breastfeeding. A woman who us breastfeeding can expect to get her period about a year after the birth of her child. If a woman is not breastfeeding, she can normally expect her periods anywhere between six to twelve weeks, after her delivery.

However, this is not necessarily the case with all women. Though it is uncommon, it is also possible for a woman to get her period immediately after postpartum bleeding stops. The start of an early period could be anywhere from a few hours to a week after the discharge of lochia stops.

Submitted by P T on March 24, 2010 at 12:04

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