Your body and health after birth

Your body has endured significant changes during pregnancy. It is now time for your body to recover and adjust to your baby’s needs.

Bleeding after birth

After birth, you will bleed from your vagina regardless of whether you have a vaginal birth or caesarean section. It is normal to bleed in the first few days and may be present 4-6 weeks after birth (also called lochia).

This will be quite heavy at first, which is why you’ll need to wear sanitary pads. Do not use tampons until after your 6-week postnatal check as they can cause infections.

While breastfeeding, you may experience heavier bleeding and period like cramping called afterbirth pains. This is due to the release of hormones, which cause your uterus to contract.  Gradually the bleeding will become a brownish colour and will reduce over a few weeks.

Abnormal blood loss

If it has been more than 24 hours since birth and you are still soaking more than 1 maxi pad every 2 hours, you may be bleeding too much. Contact your midwife or GP if:

  • you suddenly and continue to increase blood loss
  • your blood suddenly changes to a brighter red
  • your vaginal discharge smells bad – this may indicate an infection.

Excessive blood loss

If you experience heavy blood loss and are feeling dizzy, weak, sweaty, pale, have a fast heartbeat or rapid pulse call Triple Zero (000) or visit your local emergency department.

How you feel – emotional health

Depression and anxiety can occur at any time in your life and can often come to the surface with major events like pregnancy or having a baby. It is important to keep a check on how you are feeling emotionally and discuss any concerns with your health professional. It is important to let someone know if you (or your partner) are:

  • feeling low a lot of the time, anxious or tense
  • feeling guilty
  • feeling that things are hopeless
  • not enjoying things you normally enjoy
  • crying all the time
  • irritable
  • finding it hard to sleep, concentrate or make decisions
  • wanting to harm yourself.

Redcliffe Hospital

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Contact us

Phone: (07) 3883 7777

Need help outside hours?

For non-urgent medical issues call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit your GP.

In an emergency call 000.