What You Need to Know About Bleeding After You Have Your Baby

Around the world, there is a problem.  A BIG problem.  Mother’s are giving birth and dying because they are bleeding too much after delivery.  And not just in third-world countries…bleeding too much after delivery, called a postpartum hemorrhage, is happening right here in the United States.  Nurses and physicians and midwives are all doing a lot of things to try to help you bleed less after your delivery, but this isn’t something we’re going to fix by ourselves.  So here is what YOU need to know and things YOU can do to help prevent postpartum hemorrhage.  We all want you to have a safe delivery, and the healthier, more educated you are about the labor and delivery process, the better chances you have of not having major complications.  I’m not trying to freak you out. But everyone needs to be aware. And p.s. — no one thinks this is something that will happen to them.  And I don’t want it to be something that can happen to you.

First, you need to know that everyone will bleed after a vaginal or a cesarean delivery, and this is normal.

  • After you deliver, your nurse will rub your stomach.  She’s looking for your uterus, which is where your baby was at your entire pregnancy.  Your uterus expanded to make room for your baby, and now that your baby is not there it’s kind of big and floppy.  As your nurse, we want your uterus to feel nice and firm, like your fist.
  • When your uterus is firm like this, you bleed less.  If your uterus is floppy, you bleed more.
  • Every 15 minutes for 2 hours after you deliver your baby, your nurse should be looking at your bleeding.  She may rub on your stomach to assess how firm your uterus feels.
  • If your uterus is firm, but you are bleeding too much, your nurse and your physician or midwife will look at other things that may be making you bleed.  This may be from a tear somewhere in your vagina or on your cervix. There may be pieces of placenta that weren’t delivered. There are many other reasons why you may bleed.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you may feel “contractions” even after you deliver. That’s because breastfeeding makes your uterus firm up, so one of the many benefits of breastfeeding is that it will help you to not bleed as much.

It is also your responsibility to watch your bleeding.  If you are having large clots, you need to save the pads and show them to your nurse.  If you are using a lot of pads, you need to tell your nurse.  If you think you are bleeding too much, tell your nurse.  Or your doctor or midwife. Or anyone that can help you!!

If you are filling up a pad in one hour, tell your nurse or doctor or someone that can help you! If you are changing your pads frequently, save them so your nurse or doctor can see.
If you are filling up a pad in one hour, tell your nurse or doctor or someone that can help you! If you are changing your pads frequently, save them so your nurse or doctor can see.

 

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Keep your bladder empty by using the bathroom often.  When you have to pee and your bladder is full, the size of your bladder makes it hard for your uterus to get firm.  And remember, after you deliver if your uterus is not firm, you will bleed more.
  • Before you have your baby, you want to start off with a good amount of blood in your body.  You can help yourself by taking your prenatal vitamins, taking iron as prescribed by your provider, and eating a lot of iron-rich foods.  Almost all cereals have iron added to them.  Oatmeal and Cream-of-Wheat also have iron added to them.  Look at the label.  Try to eat foods that have high amounts of iron in them so that you can help prepare your body for the birth of your baby.
food 2
Notice that a lot of the food is GREEN!

 

Here are just a few reasons you may bleed too much after delivery:

  • You have to be induced, which means your provider is trying to make you go into labor.
    • If there is a medical reason that you need to be induced, then that’s what is best for you and your baby.  But if you’re just tired of being pregnant, it can be dangerous to be induced.  If your cervix is not dilated, or barely dilated, it means that we will have to give you a lot of medicine, and maybe more than one type of medicine, to get your body to go into labor.  These drugs can make it easier for you to bleed after delivery.
  • You are having more than one baby.
    • The more babies that are in your uterus, the larger your uterus has to get to hold your babies.  This can also make you bleed more.
  • Being anemic, or not having a good supply of blood in your body.
  • Not peeing often enough.
    • Remember, if your bladder is full, it’s harder for your uterus to stay firm.
  • Being overweight can make you bleed more.
  • If you have a large baby, you may bleed more because the bigger your baby, the bigger your uterus has to expand to fit your baby.
  • There are other reasons that you could bleed, such as a cut inside your vagina or near your cervix.  Some blood disorders can make it easier for you to bleed.

Talk to your doctor about what you can do to make yourself as healthy as possible.  The most important thing you can do is talk to your provider early in your pregnancy and try to stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

 

Until my next delivery ❤


49 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Bleeding After You Have Your Baby

  • June 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm
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    This is a fantastic post! I want every mother to have this and the pictures! Nicely done!!

    Reply
  • June 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm
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    Very informative!!! I am due in five weeks so I definitely needed this refresher today. :) I hemorrhaged after the birth of my fourth child. Nothing severe but enough to warrant a D and C. My

    Reply
  • June 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm
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    oops! Didn’t mean to hit post. :)
    My doctor was an idiot that delivery. The nurses said my uterus was contracting nicely to get the placenta out but my doctor was in a rush and literally yanked on it until it eventually delivered. HE later apologized but I refused to see him again. Next pregnancy and delivery he walked into my room at the hospital an told the nurses to watch me because I “like to bleed”. I was not happy thankfully all went better than I could have dreamed an baby was happy and healthy, and so was I. :) My nurses were terrific!

    Reply
      • June 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm
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        I definitely will! My midwife knows my history, as well as my back-up doctor. Hopefully it all goes smoothly again this time, but I’m sure I’ll be a nervous Nelly all over. ;) Last time I kept asking my nurses if my bleeding looked ok and if my uterus was behaving still, LOL! I think they were glad to see me go. ;)

        Reply
          • August 3, 2014 at 1:06 am
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            All went well! I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday morning, ten days after my due date. She is beautiful and we are both home, happy and healthy! :)

          • August 3, 2014 at 3:10 am
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            We named her Hailey Hope. 7 lb. 15 oz., 21″ long. She was born after three hours of intense back labor. No fun but she was worth it. :)

          • August 3, 2014 at 3:19 am
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            ohhh such a sweet name! congrats :) there’s this free baby shusher ap on the phone that works MIRACLES. lol

  • July 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm
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    I had a nasty PPH after the birth of my twins. Long labor, some pit augmentation–the perfect storm really. I didn’t end up with a transfusion, but I did end up anemic for months afterward. It was very scary, but a nurse happened to be the room when it happened (several hours pp). I called her because I thought I was bleeding—she peeked at the pad I was sitting on, and didn’t see anything, but when I stood up: massive clots, river of blood, I started to pass out. Anyway, she got a team in there helping me immediately and they got it under control in 5-10min—I’m not sure how much time really passed, it was hazy for me.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2014 at 12:43 am
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    I wish I knew all of this before I had my first child. I had SROM at 37 weeks and when I got to the hospital I was not even a finger tip dilated. I was started on pit right away and was on it for the next 23 hours or so. I ended up having a csection after they realized he was face up and not coming out after 2 1/2 hours of pushing. I ended up needing 3 units of blood in postpartum. Before getting the blood, I remember feeling so lousy and tired. With me second pregnancy, I had to have 2 weeks of IV iron infusions before my repeat section. I feel for mom’s who have such a great blood loss that requires a blood transfusion. Not a good first time labor and delivery experience!

    Reply
  • August 5, 2014 at 4:39 am
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    I was another one that bled way too much because my dr was in a hurry and yanked the placenta out while I objected. I had much less trouble the next time around with a patient, respectful and attentive midwife :-)

    Reply
  • Pingback: What You Need To Know About Postpartum Bleeding | Life Lovers

  • December 3, 2014 at 1:46 am
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    This is so great someone has shared this information. I am a mother of 3girls and have had to be transfused with all 3. The doctors told me I had lost well over half the blood volume in my body. With my 2nd delivery I had to be rushed back into the ER and was admited for another 2days because they couldn’t get my bleeding to stop. My advice, if you know you are bleeding way more than normal, don’t just shrug it off to postpartum…make sure you tell your Dr that it is not normal.

    Reply
  • Pingback: What You Need To Know About Postpartum Bleeding | Life Lovers

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm
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    When I Felipe weed my son last November I was induced for low fluids around him I was in labor 23 hours after delivery it took a little longer for my placenta to deliver I didn’t think much of it it was my first baby they had to cut me to deliver him as well I had second degree cut she sewed me up after the placenta delivery and all was good till I had to use the restroom and got up with the nurse to go to the restroom and while sitting on the toilet got extremely light headed and bled a lot almost to the point I felt I was going to just fall off the toilet and pass out and other nurse came in and asked if she needed help if I was ok but she said no I think she is okay if you as me it was pretty bad idk if that may have been what happened to me PPH. But it sounds like it from the article I read they never documented it or anything g but had me continue taking iron pills for 2 months after delivery

    Reply
    • December 7, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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      *when I delivered my son

      Reply
  • December 9, 2014 at 10:50 pm
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    I just had a baby in October. She was my first and 15 minutes after I got to recovery I started hemorrhaging really bad and went into DIC. The floor was covered in blood. I was rushed to surgery and had to have a hysterectomy. I had to have 10 units of blood given to be. I was in ICU for three days and didn’t get to be with my baby. Praise God He pulled me through and I get to be my little girl’s mom and my husband doesn’t have to be a single dad. All the glory to Him. I hope nobody else has to go through it. Good article!

    Reply
  • December 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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    You write REALLY well for the general population! You must be an amazing nurse!!

    Reply
  • December 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    One thing that isn’t mentioned is that breastfeeding can decrease your risk of hemorrhage due to the contracting of the uterus while nursing. As a lactation nurse, I had to throw that in there. ;)

    Reply
    • August 25, 2015 at 6:35 am
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      I was breastfeeding really well and uterus was contracting every timr but retained placenta meant my body was over producing blood to get rid of this which led to lots of clotting. I only started secondary pph bleeding 10 days after delivering my 10lb 10oz baby boy in an induced but natural delivery. I had felt something wasn’t right and had chest pains since day 2 which I had all sorts of tests for including dvt scan vq scan and an echocardiogram. Still waiting for results of echo but all else clear. Could be the infection was causing this pain.
      I soaked through 5 pads in 30 mins before getting to hospital and having a huge amount of blood pass. I was in emergency theatre for d&c within 3 hrs. The clotting area was quite big and was infected. I recall telling my midwife that the blood i passed prior to the start of the pph bleeding smelled sweet. I dont know if this is significant. I had 2 units of blood after the procedure and 4 days in hospital. I am.now home and continuing to breast feed but with one bottle at night to allow me a chunk of sleep. Please be vigilant and if you feel something isn’t right it probably isn’t. Keep connected to your midwives and hospital and ask for advice. I had the most amazing care and wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the midwives at hospital telling me to come in to have things checked.

      Reply
  • December 12, 2014 at 2:10 am
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    I would like to add that large clots are another sign that you are bleeding too much. I was unsure of whether or not I was bleeding too much bc I was not soaking a pad in an hour. I was, however, passing large clots. When I finally passed one the size of a golf ball if knew things weren’t right. I had to have a D & C.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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    Really good information…I’m pregnant with my first and this really helps a lot!!! Thank You

    Reply
  • January 11, 2015 at 8:12 am
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    I think you should add info about blood clots and the risk of retained placenta. I didn’t know what was ‘normal’ and what was not. Turns out I needed treatment for a small piece of retained placenta.

    Reply
  • January 27, 2015 at 1:10 am
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    I’m pregnant with my second and I never knew this stuff I’m due in may … this has been very helpful !

    Reply
  • February 3, 2015 at 8:38 pm
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    Great info. I’m 37 weeks with my fourth and I was always scared to really talk about my bleeding after birth. I guess I never knew everyone goes through it.

    Reply
    • February 6, 2015 at 3:07 am
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      and never be afraid to speak up! If you think it’s too much, tell your nurse or your provider. they will look at your pads. it sounds gross to normal people, but that’s what we do!! lol it’s our job! <3

      Reply
  • April 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm
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    I gave birth yesterday to my first and have had 2 blood transfustion since then. I started bleeding out after my plasenta was delivered within mins of my son being born via forcepes. I passed out with a team of people around me and my parter holding our son in the corner of the room freaking out. (sorry about spelling, have ivs in my hand and both elbows and holding my son. I wasn’t told how much blood was to much but was told to watch for it so this is very helpful

    Reply
  • Pingback: Bleeding after Birth | To Be Pregnant

  • May 22, 2015 at 8:20 am
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    Hi there dear.can u pls tell me if having a scheduled ceaserean reduce my chances of PPH.i have a 8 cm fibroid n advised cs by my ob.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2015 at 4:28 am
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    Hi I had my baby 3 months ago & im still bleeding off and on with a brownish discharge should I be concerned? What should I do?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm
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    I always tell people to search this post before they deliver! It is so important for mothers to know what is normal and when they should talk to someone! Do you mind if I share the image in a postpartum post on my site? I will credit you and link it back to your site, thanks!

    Reply
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  • April 6, 2017 at 7:38 am
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    During my son delivery I heard the doctor said hops cos I gave birth on ceaserian after that they put me something to drain the blood when other doctor asked why they are putting me this they said I’m bleeding at the back of the womb but now I’m feeling the scar on my left of my uterus everytime I make sex I feel pain

    Reply

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