Brown discharge after pregnancy: What to expect & when to worry

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Women will experience an array of discharge after pregnancy, but they should be aware of certain signs that may indicate they need medical attention.

BY KAREN SAMUELS

It is normal for pregnant moms to have brown discharge during pregnancy. The discharge is the expulsion of old blood and is usually not a cause for concern. However, is it normal for moms to have brown discharge after pregnancy? This article will discuss what women should expect of their discharge and when to seek medical attention.

What moms should expect of their discharge after pregnancy

Lochia

Moms have lochia after delivery. Lochia is the vaginal discharge that contains blood, mucus, membranes, and at times meconium. It has a musty odor similar to that of regular periods. Moms who’ve had a vaginal birth have heavier lochia compared to those who had Cesarean delivery. There are three stages of lochia; lochia rubra, lochia serosa, and lochia alba. There are notable changes in the flow and color of the vaginal discharge in each.

Lochia Rubra: This is the first stage of vaginal discharge that lasts between 1-4 days. The discharge mainly consists of blood, fetal membranes, vernix caseosa, and lanugo. NCT explains that blood in this stage is bright red or brownish and may contain large blood clots the size of a grape.

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Lochia Serosa: The second stage of lochia is known as lochia serosa. Discharge in this stage is lighter than lochia rubra, and there are fewer blood clots. Lochia serosa takes place between the 4th-14th days after delivery. The color of the discharge is pinkish brown, dark brown, or pinkish-red with a watery consistency.

Lochia Alba: Lochia Alba is the last stage, which can take place between the 3rd-6th weeks after delivery. Good To Know explains that the discharge contains more white blood cells than red blood cells, thus its creamy, yellowish-white color. The discharge also contains cholesterol, fat, mucus, and tissue cells. Moms do not experience heavy flow in this final stage of lochia.

Increased Discharge

There are instances when discharge increases temporarily after the delivery. Moms experience increased discharge when getting out of bed, moving around, breastfeeding, and straining when making bowel movements. WebMD also notes that it is normal to feel blood gushing down when you stand. When you sit or lay down, blood collects gathers in a cup-like region and comes out when you stand.

Brown discharge after a miscarriage

It is also healthy to have a brown discharge after a miscarriage. Ovia Health points out that a mom may experience spotting or vaginal bleeding up to seven days after the miscarriage. The discharge may appear brown or yellowish and subside with time.

When to call a doctor

Moms should call the doctor when they notice any of the following with their discharge:

Black spots in the discharge

Moms who’ve had a miscarriage should see their doctor if they notice any black spots in their discharge. You should report heavy and severe bleeding too.

You experience heavy bleeding

You should be concerned if you need to change your maternity pad in less than an hour. Postpartum hemorrhage affects up to 5% of women and can lead to low blood pressure. This means that your organs will receive less blood and can cause shock and death. Another concern should be when your vaginal discharge does not lessen as days pass. Moreover, if there is no color change to the vaginal discharge, call a doctor too. You should expect a bright red discharge the first few days, then a pinkish discharge, followed by a brown discharge and yellowish-white discharge weeks after delivery.

You feel unwell

You should also see your doctor when you feel shaky, have chills and a smelly discharge, and a high fever of 100.4 degrees. This could be a sign that you have an infection. Call your doctor when you feel nausea, weakness, blurred vision, and dizziness too.

There are large blood clots in your pad

If you notice the blood clots are bigger than a plum, you need medical attention. This could be a sign that your uterus is not shrinking back to its original size.

Moms should expect a bright red discharge for the first few days after delivery. NCT notes that on the first day of delivery, moms have a red discharge. It then becomes pink or dark brown between the 2nd-14th days. During this time, the flow becomes lighter, and there are fewer blood clots. From the third week of delivery, moms should expect a creamy, pale, yellowish discharge. Some moms report pinkish-red or brown stains. Therefore, a brown discharge after delivery should not be a cause for concern for moms.

Karen Samuels is an avid reader, writer, and editor based in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s been an administrative assistant, marketing executive, senior sales consultant, tutor, and a content creator. She now works as an organic list writer for Valnet, Inc covering BabyGaga. 

Sources: NCT, Ovia Health, Healthline, WebMD, Good To Know

Courtesy: BabyGaga


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