Parenting tip

Blood loss, or lochia to give it its medical name, usually lasts between two to six weeks and can vary in colour throughout that time.

Bleeding after birth guide: What to expect

Some bleeding after birth is completely normal. Here we outline what typically happens in terms of blood loss in the weeks after giving birth, including the passing of clots.

After having a baby, most women will experience some blood loss from their uterus (womb) until the lining is renewed. Vaginal bleeding after birth, or lochia to give it its medical name, usually lasts between two to six weeks and can vary in colour throughout that time. Read more about the causes of blood loss here.

Below we outline what blood loss you might experience after you have a baby but, as always, if you are concerned or unsure about anything, speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP. Take a look at our article here to find out more about when postnatal bleeding might be a concern.

Bleeding one day after the birth

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal blood bleeding: A fresh red or browny-red blood loss.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: Quite a heavy loss, soaking a maternity pad every few hours. You may pass one or two quite large clots (the size of a small orange) or a number of smaller ones (about the size of a grape). This is not unusual, but it is a good idea to show them to your midwife.

Bleeding two to six days after the birth

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal bleeding: The loss should go a darker-red or a browny or pinky-red.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: You might still pass a few clots but these should be small (less than the size of a grape). Initially, the blood loss makes a 3-5 inch (7-12cm) stain on the pad. The loss should then lessen towards day six, down to perhaps a 2 inch (5cm) stain.

Bleeding seven to 10 days after the birth

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal bleeding: Staying the same colour or getting a lighter shade of the browny or pinky-red.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: If you are breastfeeding, you might have a small fresh loss at the end of a feed. Although lessening in general, bleeding can still be variable. Most often the stain will be less than 3 inches (7cm), although this may increase with activity, such as walking up stairs, and the pad will not be not soaked at any time.

Bleeding 11-14 days after having a baby

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal bleeding: Staying the same colour or getting lighter. If you are becoming to be more active, the colour may be more pinky-red than before.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: The amount will continue to lessen and some pads will barely stain, although as before, increased activity may lead to greater staining.

Bleeding three to four weeks after having a baby

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal bleeding: If loss is still present, a browny-pinky colour or paler, possibly a creamy-white colour at times.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: Continuing to get less with longer periods of very little or no bleeding at all. If it stopped by the second or third week and then you have a red loss again, this might be your first period if you are not breastfeeding. 

Bleeding around six weeks after having a baby

Normal ranges of colour of vaginal bleeding: Continuing along the same colour pattern as before, more likely to be a small or occasional discharge of browny or pinky-red or a creamy-yellow colour.

Normal ranges for the amount of vaginal bleeding: You may still have bleeding, either all the time or some days only. If you are concerned, ask for advice when you have postnatal check-up at around six weeks.

Further information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700.

Further healthcare information related to this topic can be found by visiting the MIDIRS website for consumers, or the MIDIRS website for healthcare professionals.