Whether you had a vaginal birth or a caesarean, it is normal to experience vaginal bleeding after having a baby. It is called lochia and sometimes smells quite strongly of iron. It can be very heavy at first so you will need some maternity pads. Women generally find larger style knickers more comfortable for a while, and you’ll need enough pairs to keep changing regularly. It’s not recommended to use tampons until about six weeks after birth due to the risk of infection.

If you are breastfeeding, you may find that you bleed more at this time. This is because the hormones involved in breastfeeding (oxytocin) help your womb contract. Breastfeeding can also trigger after birth pains [LINK to recovering from birth - after pains].

Normal lochia will be bright red or reddish brown to start with, changing to pinkish or brownish, and eventually clear. You may get fresh red bleeding at any stage if you are suddenly much more active. Small clots are normal. If you have any clots larger than a 50 pence piece, or your bleeding increases to the stage where you are needing to change your pad more than once an hour, contact your midwife or unit for further advice. You should also contact your midwife or doctor for help if your lochia is a greenish colour or the smell is foul - these signs could indicate an infection.