How Long Will I Bleed After a C Section?

Caesarean surgery (C-section) is becoming very common these days, but like all other types of surgeries, there are risks attached to the procedure, especially when you do not take special care during the recovery phase. Even when everything goes as planned, you are likely to lose more blood during a C-section as compared to a normal vaginal delivery. The bleeding may continue after the procedure, and this makes many women ask how long the bleeding will last.

How Long Will I Bleed After a C Section?

You may continue to bleed for 2-6 weeks after a C-section. The vaginal discharge you notice after your surgery is called 'lochia'. The discharge is likely to be bright red and you may also notice tissue and lining of the uterus with a considerable amount of blood. It is quite common to bleed heavily soon after the C-section, but it will become lighter with time. It also turns to pink and then yellowish white after about 10 days of your surgery.

It is important to mention that bleeding after a C-section can differ from person to person – it may last from a few days to few weeks. In most cases, the bleeding stops within 3-4 weeks, but the discharge may continue for more than 6 weeks. This is normal, but you should see your doctor if you have a fever or notice foul smell from the discharge.

What Can You Do About the Bleeding?

You do not have to worry about serious complications, but it is important to stay prepared and stock up on maternity pads. Avoid using tampons for the first six weeks at least to lower your chances of developing an infection. You will need loads of pads, as you may have to change your pad every couple of hours in the beginning. Be sure to wash your hand before and after changing the pad and take a bath once a day to stay clean and fresh.

When to Worry

You should seek medical attention if:

  • The bleeding becomes very heavy and makes you feel very uncomfortable.
  • The blood becomes brighter for no apparent reason.
  • The blood contains clots.
  • The discharge makes you feel very weak.
  • The discharge is accompanied with irregular heartbeat.

Tips for Better Recovery After C-Section

How long will I bleed after a C section? You ask. Every woman is different, but it can take several weeks. However, you can always take certain steps to accelerate recovery after your surgery.

1. Taking Care of the Incision

The stitches you have are likely to dissolve on their own, but you may have to go to your doctor again if you have staples. Whatever the case, be sure to keep the area dry and call your healthcare provider if you experience redness, warmth, or increased pain. This may indicate an infection. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to control your pain, but you can also use massage techniques to reduce pain and discomfort. Massaging the area will also strengthen the abdominal muscles and accelerate recovery.

2. Stay Active

It does not mean that you should start engaging in strenuous activities, but you should stay active and at least start walking after your surgery. Start by walking for a few minutes and then build up to 30 minutes. Walking really helps improve blood circulation and lower your risk of blood clots. It also regulates bowel movement and accelerates healing.

3. Pay Attention to Your Diet

It is important to take a balanced diet to stay healthy. You need vitamin C and other essential nutrients for healing. Opt for anti-inflammatory foods, such as broccoli, kale and berries. Foods rich in vitamin-C encourage the production of collage that repairs skin tissue and triggers healing. Nuts and seeds are also quite beneficial. Be sure to limit the intake of red meat because it increases inflammation in the body. Try salmon and chicken instead.

4. Avoid Lifting Heavy

It is important to include some exercise in your routine, but it should not involve heavy lifting. Walking for a few minutes every day is usually enough. Never lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. Increase the activity level gradually as you start to feel better and experience no pain. It is also a good idea to not lift your baby and ask someone to bring him/her to you for feedings.

5. Avoid Sex for Some Time

In addition to "How long will I bleed after a C section?" you may also wonder if you can have sex after the procedure. It is always better to avoid sex for some time because it may feel painful. In fact, you may experience painful intercourse for 18 months after a C-section. Pregnancy alone can put serious stress on your pelvic muscles, and the surgery can make things worse by causing scar tissue to develop. It can cause muscle pain and spasm, which will lead to painful sex. Just try to ease back into sex, understand the importance of foreplay, make use of a lubricant, and do not try it too hard if you are experiencing severe pain.

6. Control Your Pain

It is common to experience some pain after your surgery, and your doctor can help manage it by prescribing pain medications. They may recommend OTC pain relievers such as Advil or Motrin or they may also give you acetaminophen to keep your pain in check. Applying heat to the surgical site may also help relieve some discomfort.

7. Take Plenty of Rest

It is important to get plenty of rest whenever you can. Yes, you should incorporate some form of exercise, like walking in your routine, but you should also give your body enough time to heal itself. It would not be easy to take rest when your baby is very demanding. Just be sure to rest whenever your baby is sleeping. You can also ask friends or family members to take care of diaper changes and other housework to give you more time to relax and rest. 

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