Nothing compares to the amazing feeling you get when you first see your baby's tiny face after labor. All you can think about is how much you love that little human and, honestly, your postpartum recovery is barely a blip on your radar — until you start going through the not-so-beautiful process of uterine contractions and bleeding. If you've had a C-section, you might wonder how different your recovery will be. Since vaginal bleeding is part of the normal postpartum process, how long will you bleed after a C-section?
The vaginal bleeding you experience after delivery is called lochia, according to the Mayo Clinic, and consists of a bright red, heavy flow of blood during the first few days after a C-section delivery. The Mayo Clinic added that while the bleeding is heavier and red in the first few days, it will eventually taper off into a lighter pink, brown, yellow, or whitish discharge by the end of your first month postpartum.
According to Baby Center, vaginal bleeding after delivery, C-section or vaginal, is heavier in the first few days because when your placenta detaches from your uterus, it leaves open blood vessels that bleed into your uterus. The bleeding will taper off as your uterus contracts, closing off those blood vessels.
There are factors that can contribute to changes in your bleeding, however. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) noted that certain activities or changes in positioning after a C-section could increase lochia bleeding, so it's a good idea to take a break from physically demanding activities.
The APA also advised that after a C-section, really heavy bleeding with passage of clots, a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, foul odor in your discharge, or blood and burning with urination are not normal, and you should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these signs. And if you think your C-section incision is bleeding or has discharge, you should also reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Total, the bleeding after delivery should only last a month or so, but that includes a lot more lighter days than heavier days. In the meantime, enjoy your new bundle of joy, and bask in the love you feel for them. (And those giant mesh panties the hospital sent home with you.)