Breastfeed : The suckling process stimulates oxytocin (see Know Your Hormones). The downsizing of your uterus will start immediately whether you breastfeed or not, but breastfeeding will help your body kick it into a higher gear.
Massage your uterus : See how to further along in the chapter
Don’t hold it in : A full bladder will work against the contracting mechanisms.
Relax : Your body is on autopilot, and this process will happen naturally.
So, what’s all this blood about?
Postpartum bleeding is called lochia. If you think this sounds like a small Scottish lake, you are not too far off track. It refers to the alarmingly heavy vaginal bleeding that will occupy your waking hours in between breastfeeds and burping. If you are at all tempted to leave the house, the crackling noise as the voluminous maxi- pads rub between your thighs will put you off public appearances.
TIP : Don’t even think about using a tampon
What is it?
Residual bleeding from the placental scar site. The fluid is made up of mucus, blood and tissue. As the bleeding tails off, the discharge will be made up of the inner lining of the uterus as it sheds.
Days one to five: Expect fresh, heavy blood (lochia rubra). Expect to use up to two maternity pads at a time, changing them every two to three hours.
Days five to thirty: The bleeding should start to tail off. The blood content will diminish, and the discharge will become pinker.
Day thirty onwards: The discharge will move to an opaque white colour.
What about Clots?
Clots are a normal part of healing and you will pass clots that vary in size from a grape to an egg. The site of the placenta doesn’t just scar over and be done during involution, otherwise its surface area would be a thick scab and would not allow future eggs to attach. The tissue underneath actually heals, pushing the scab away and it forms part of your vaginal bleeding (lovely lochia).
These can often gather overnight and all appear at one time as you get up and gravity works its wonders. Any clot larger than an egg you need to keep. Your caregiver needs to check that there are not pieces of the placenta still left in your uterus. These can cause infection and hold back involution.
Call your doc for:
· Intense pain: You should feel a cramp, not a sharp pain.
· Heavy bleeding: If you are using more than a pad an hour. The quantity of blood should not be more than a very heavy period.
· A smell: Any smelly discharge can indicate infection. You will be put on antibiotics, fast, by your doctor.
Massage your Uterus:
· Lie down and relax your abdominal muscles.
· Feel below your navel for the top of the uterus (fundus).
· It will be sensitive to the touch, bordering on painful.
· Massage downwards, using medium to heavy pressure.
· Use breathing techniques to relax and flow with the pain.
· Do not tense your abdominal muscles.
· Even if you can’t find your uterus, it’s there – so just massage down- wards from your navel to your pubic bone.
It also helps to put gentle pressure on the area. Try lying on your stomach with a pillow under the lower stomach.