Why Does Postpartum Bleeding Happen?
Whether you have a vaginal delivery or C-section, it’s completely normal to experience bleeding after giving birth. It actually has a name—lochia bleeding.
Lochia bleeding is vaginal discharge that includes mucus, blood, and uterine tissue that your body sheds 3–6 weeks postpartum, but it can last up to 12 weeks postpartum. The discharge typically has a stale, musty odor, like menstrual discharge, and once it starts, it will usually trickle off after a few weeks. Lochia bleeding can start heavy, but if you fill a pad or tampon within two hours, you should see your provider.
Is It Normal to Bleed After Sex Postpartum?
Women feel comfortable having sex at different periods postpartum. Some women feel comfortable having sex as soon as six weeks after delivery, and others still feel nervous, scared, or apprehensive of sex up to three months postpartum. Read this blog post to learn more about what you should know about sex after birth.
However, you may feel ready for sex, and then, after intercourse, you begin bleeding. This can be scary, and you may ask yourself—is it normal to bleed after sex postpartum? We’re here to put your mind at ease—yes, light bleeding after postpartum sex is normal, just like light bleeding after giving birth is normal (again, unless you’re filling a pad within two hours, in which case, you should contact your medical provider).
Why Does Bleeding After Sex Postpartum Happen?
Bleeding after postpartum sex can happen for various reasons—here are a few of the most common:
- Timing—Sometimes, postpartum bleeding after sex occurs because you’re rushing your body into sexual intercourse too soon. If you’re on the earlier end of your postpartum recovery, it’s most likely this is the reason for your postpartum bleeding after sex.
- Stitches—If you had an episiotomy during your delivery or stitches after giving birth and these are bumped or slightly reopened during sex, you may begin bleeding.
- Orgasm—If you orgasm, this can sometimes stimulate uterine contraction and cause light bleeding during or after sex.
What Can You Do to Prevent Postpartum Bleeding During Sex?
If you’re experiencing bleeding after sex postpartum, here are a few things you can do to mitigate or eliminate the bleeding:
Listen to Your Body
It may sound cliché, but listening to your body is the most crucial thing you can do to prevent bleeding after sex postpartum. If something hurts or feels uncomfortable during sex, stop what you’re doing and have a conversation with your partner.
You may realize that you’re jumping into sexual intercourse too soon after birth and decide to wait a week or two before trying again, or you may recognize that another position feels more comfortable. Ultimately, postpartum sex is a learning opportunity, and it’s a great time to embrace the opportunity to rediscover what you both enjoy together.
It’s common not to have as much natural lubrication while your body adjusts “back to normal” after giving birth. Your hormones are shifting to accommodate breastfeeding and caring for your new baby, so you don’t often produce as much natural lubrication.
We recommend women use water or aloe-based lubrication for at least six months postpartum to help prevent bleeding during sex. Lubrication can stop bleeding caused by vaginal dryness and friction during sex.
Know Your Feelings Are Valid
In addition to listening to your body, one of the most important ways you can prevent bleeding after sex postpartum is to not rush into having sex too soon.
After giving birth, your body sends signals for you to sleep, eat, and keep your baby alive. No offense to your spouse—but your body isn’t sending you any signals about having sex. When you’re ready to have sex postpartum, you’ll know.
Most importantly, if you’re not ready to have sex after giving birth, that’s completely normal. In fact, it’s your body’s way of protecting you and your baby! It’s essential to have open, honest conversations with your spouse to ensure you’re both on the same page so you don’t feel rushed into having sex too soon and your spouse doesn’t have unrealistic expectations.
Get Answers About Postpartum Bleeding with Moment of Truth Physical Therapy
If you’re looking for answers about postpartum bleeding, you’ve come to the right place. Moment of Truth Physical Therapy in Peoria, Arizona, helps women gain confidence in their bodies after giving birth. We can provide a thorough evaluation of your abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and tissues to outline steps you can take to move forward in the healing process.
Schedule your free discovery session in Peoria, Arizona, to get all your answers about bleeding after sex postpartum answered so that you can move forward in the recovery process with peace of mind and confidence!