Question: How long does bleeding after c section last?
If you’ve never had a previous caesarian section, you may now wonder why you are still experiencing heavy or light bleeding days or weeks after your surgery.
First of all, its important you know it’s not abnormal that you will lose blood from your vagina after a cesarean section. And rarely, if there is a complication from the procedure, you may have additional bleeding from the incision site.
The volume and color of blood from your vagina may signify whether there is a problem or not. A bright red (or fresh blood), that is heavy, may signify a problem. If you are experiencing this, talk to the surgical team immediately.
On the other hand, a continuous blood loss from your vagina that is initially brown then turns yellow is not abnormal. It’s your body cleaning up your womb and depending on the individual, it may last for weeks.
This article explains how long bleeding should last after a c section, and when to worry if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding.
Is it normal to bleed after c section?
If you are bleeding right after your surgery, it’s not something you should panic about. This is because, whether you have a vaginal delivery or through surgery, it’s normal that you will have some form of bleeding.
In fact, immediately after caesarian section, your womb begins to release a particular type of discharge (called lochia) that will change its color over time.
Right after your c section, lochia is bright red. And as expected, you will have heavier bleeding (with occasional blood clots). At this time, it’s important to observe how many sanitary pads you’ve changed in an hour as this could quickly tell if something is wrong. Too frequent change of pad means you may have excessive bleeding.
Also, it’s essential you know vaginal discharge after c section will vary in color and volume every week after your surgery.
At first, you will experience the first type of lochia called RUBRA which consist of parts of your baby’s membrane, blood, and decidua tissues. Within the next 3 – 5 days, you will experience this “very bloody discharge” (lochia rubra), and you should not feel like something serious is happening.
After some days, your vaginal lochia will change to a pinkish or brownish discharge with less bleeding compared to the first days after your surgery. This is the lochia serosa, and it’s important you inform your doctor if you are still bleeding heavy five days or weeks after your surgery.
After this brown lochia discharge (lochia serosa), your vaginal discharge becomes clearer, something looking yellowish or white in color.
If you persistently now have to bleed vaginally after a c section, it’s important to tell your doctor to rule out any complications.
How long do you bleed after a c section?
The bleeding duration after c section varies from woman to woman, and in fact, while it may take only 2 or 3 weeks for some women, others may experience vaginal spotting for as long as 6 weeks.
One important sign you must check is the volume of blood loss. Remember, days after your surgery, you will experience much more bleeding. However, if bleeding continues heavily or you have bloody spotting for more than 6 weeks, see your doctor for a check-up.
Signs of internal bleeding after c section
It’s very uncommon that you will have massive bleeding inside your abdomen after a cesarean section. This is because, most times, a trained doctor is in charge of your surgeries and therefore, the risk of an internal bleeding is reduced.
During a c section, a cut is made through the skin, into the subcutaneous fat, and then a curvilinear incision is also made on the uterus. If your womb is not repaired correctly, it may cause blood to continue to leak into your abdomen.
Here are some signs you will experience if you have internal bleeding after c section
Abdominal pain after c section is normal, and it’s due to surgical stress on your belly. So, it’s important you don’t think you have internal bleeding with every abdominal pain episodes.
However, if the pain gets to your nerves, it could mean inflammation caused by blood in your abdomen. The only way to be sure is informing your doctor.
As blood accumulates in your abdomen, your belly starts to swell up too. This is a sign something is wrong, and you will need to inform your doctor ASAP.
Another sign that you will experience is an increase in the frequency of breathing. This is called tachypnoea and means you are breathing more than normally required for adults.
If you experience fast breathing after your surgery, it could be due to excessive loss of blood. Ensure you tell your doctor.
Less urine output
Before going to the theatre, your surgical team will pass a tube (called urethra catheter) that help to drain your bladder continuously, and prevents obstruction from a full bladder during surgery.
So, if after the surgery you are having so much vaginal bleeding or bleeding from the incision site, your body on its own quickly redistributes blood to important organs like your heart and brain. This means there is less blood supply to your kidneys, and so, only a little or no urine will be produced.
Most times, this is not something you should be concerned about as there is always a medical team to monitor your vital signs after surgery in the recovery room.
Heavy vaginal bleeding
I’ve already explained it’s not abnormal that you get to bleed right after a c section. However, it’s important you check how frequent you are changing your pads to know if bleeding is heavy.
Heavy vaginal bleeding after c section can occur if a woman’s womb fails to contract after surgery. This is common in twin pregnancies and women that have had multiple deliveries in the past.
If you’ve already been discharged home, and you experience heavy bleeding, see your doctor ASAP.
Bleeding after c section stopped and started again. Should I be worried?
Because you are still recovering, it’s normal that you will panic over any unusual signs. Your body after a c section will change, and removal of blood from your womb is normal. This bleeding can be continuous over the course of 6 weeks, and it’s normal you will see ON and OFF vaginal bleeding.
So, if bleeding after c section stopped and started again within this time, don’t panic yet. However, you must see your doctor if it happens 4 – 6 weeks after your surgery
Heavy bleeding after c section, how can I know?
For a lot of women, it’s confusing how they can identify heavy vaginal bleeding after surgery. Most times, its best to see your doctor to ensure you are not losing so much blood. Some of the signs of excessive vaginal bleeding after surgery are
Frequent changing of sanitary pads
Immediately after your surgery, you will deal with much flow of blood. However, if you are changing your pads in minutes, then something is definitely wrong.
Big blood clots from vagina
Heavy bleeding allows big blood clots to form. If you experience a golf size clot, its a sign of too much bleeding. Tell your doctor right away.
Reddish lochia for weeks
If after weeks you still see a reddish lochia that is excessive, it means you may still be having bleeding down there. To be sure, let your doctor find out the cause.
Other signs that could indicate a problem are foul-smelling vaginal discharge, greenish lochia and continuous abdominal pain weeks after a c section.
C section incision bleeding a little, what does it mean?
If after your surgery you experience a little bleeding or slight stain on the wound dressing (either on the left or right side of the incision), it may not indicate anything serious.
Usually, it takes some time for the wound to heal, and except you notice frank red blood that continuously soaks your wound dressing, you should not worry.
However, As always, informing your doctor of any change you don’t understand is the right thing to do.