How To Stop Postpartum Bleeding Faster & Reduce Your Risk Factors

How To Stop Postpartum Bleeding Faster

You are so prepared for the arrival of your baby, including all the postpartum essentials and the best compression leggings to wear to help you with recovery. However, you are caught off guard by the bleeding after giving birth.

Postpartum bleeding is an entirely normal occurrence due to having a baby. 

You can expect heavy bleeding and blood clots for several weeks after the delivery of your baby. 

While this is not a menstrual period, it will certainly seem like the longest period of your life.

Much like a menstrual period, there is heavy bleeding and blood clots, but this blood loss results from a wound rather than the shedding of the uterine lining that occurs during a period. 

Postpartum bleeding is caused by the tearing away of the placenta from the uterine wall. It can last weeks on end and carries plenty of risk factors, especially if you had a vaginal birth.

This article will cover what this postpartum bleeding is, the dangers you need to watch out for, how long you can expect to bleed after delivery, and how to stop postpartum bleeding faster.

Labor and delivery bleeding

When you go into labor, and your cervix dilates due to contractions, your body is working to expel a baby from your body. This process can be stressful for your body. 

Blood vessels can burst, especially during the stage of vaginal birth in which the mother has to push hard to deliver the baby, which can cause light bleeding.

Vaginal bleeding can occur if the vagina and proximate areas tear or rip apart. 

Sometimes your midwife or doctor will cut the area between the vagina and the anus to allow a wider passage for the baby. This process is called episiotomy.

All of the above can and usually do cause some bleeding.

Blood loss is typically minimal, and when you are pregnant, your body produces more blood to help offset the loss of blood experienced during childbirth.

Postpartum hemorrhage

When the blood flow is incredibly heavy after giving birth, it is called postpartum hemorrhage. 

This excessive bleeding is one of the most serious postpartum complications a woman can experience, and it is a leading cause of maternal death in the US.

Postpartum hemorrhaging usually occurs immediately following the birth or within 24 hours of postpartum recovery. 

Managing this severe blood loss can be done if your doctor notices and acts quickly and precautions are taken during the delivery stage to attempt to cut down on postpartum bleeding associated with the delivery of the placenta and baby.

How to reduce risk factors for postpartum hemorrhage

While postpartum bleeding is normal and not dangerous, postpartum hemorrhage can be deadly. 

There are, however, measures that can be taken to reduce your risk of hemorrhage. These include:

  • Uterine massage to help the uterus contract to its normal size
  • Oxytocin
  • Early umbilical cord clamping
  • Regular observations, assessments, and medical attention following delivery

Treating postpartum hemorrhage

When the blood vessels rupture or an artery erupts and causes very heavy bleeding, postpartum hemorrhage can occur. 

Treatment options vary depending upon the severity of the hemorrhage, but what matters is that medical intervention can make a difference.

Uterine artery embolization

When a blood vessel ruptures and causes a hemorrhage, it can be challenging to pinpoint the vessel to get the bleeding stopped. 

A uterine artery embolization occurs when a doctor tests to find the ruptured blood vessels and injects or places particles in those vessels to stop the bleeding.

How To Stop Postpartum Bleeding Faster

Blood transfusion

A blood transfusion can be performed if the blood loss is severe. 

How much blood you need to be transfused will depend on how much you have lost and the rate at which you lose blood. 

This is done to replace lost blood and keep you from having dangerously low blood pressure that can result in shock and even death.

Cesarean birth vs. vaginal delivery

Postpartum bleeding occurs in all cases of childbirth, regardless of your birthing method. 

While there is more trauma and a likelihood of bleeding issues during a vaginal delivery, you can still hemorrhage after a cesarean section and get a serious infection in either case.

Postpartum women of all delivery methods should be closely monitored in the hours and days following their delivery.

How long do you bleed after giving birth?

Without known complications during childbirth, most women bleed continuously for one to two months following delivery. 

This bleeding is called lochia, and it starts out heavy and bright red and will lessen and darken as time goes on.

There are three stages of lochia bleeding. Understanding these stages and what you can expect during each will give you a better idea of where you are in the process of bleeding and how soon you may expect to stop it.

Lochia rubra

This is the first stage of bleeding. It occurs in the first few days following delivery. 

This is when uterine contractions are at their highest, and you will most likely feel quite uncomfortable during this stage. 

You may experience even more severe cramping if you breastfeed, as the hormone oxytocin is released during breastfeeding. This is the same hormone that causes your uterus to contract.

The bleeding during this stage is comparable to a very heavy period, and you may notice some fairly large clots being passed as you experience the uterus continuing to contract after giving birth.

Call your doctor if you experience larger clots than the size of a golf ball or if you have to change your pad more than once an hour. 

It is important not to use tampons during postpartum recovery. Remember that this is not a period but a wound at the placental site trying to heal.

Lochia serosa

This second stage of postpartum bleeding will change in both heaviness and color. It starts after day five and can last for an additional two weeks.

During this time, you should see the color of the discharge change from pink or brown to yellow or white. This is because the red blood cells from the placental wound and the white blood cells that have formed mucus in the cervix are leaving the body.

You may still pass clots, but they should be much smaller and less frequent. 

If you pass large clots past six weeks postpartum, alert your doctor.

Lochia alba

This stage lasts about two weeks, and this is where you should start to see the bleeding come to a stop. 

The discharge will be mostly yellowish or white and should smell like a regular period. You should no longer be passing clots of any size.

Health conditions

While heavy bleeding can happen anytime after pregnancy and for many different reasons, certain health conditions can increase your risk of abnormal bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage

Postpartum depression (PPD)

Depression following pregnancy can affect your uterus and the healing process. 

Many women who find themselves depressed after the birth of their child experience heavier and longer bleeding. 

You can experience PPD after pregnancy, and you should let your doctor know if you think you may be depressed.

Depression can happen to anyone. 

Even if you didn’t have PPD after the birth of your first baby, you could still end up with it after a subsequent pregnancy. 

If you feel unusually down, angry, having trouble bonding with your newborn, or have any other symptoms of PPD, reach out for help. 

There are many resources available to help treat it.

Uterine rupture

A uterine rupture can occur for a variety of reasons. It can happen due to prolonged hard pushing during childbirth or trauma to the uterus. 

It occurs when the uterus tears or ruptures, resulting in heavy bleeding that can lead to hemorrhage or prolonged bleeding.

Placenta previa

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta covers or blocks the birth canal, making it challenging to deliver a baby and potentially causing hemorrhage due to trauma to the placenta. 

Some women with placenta previa must deliver via cesarean section to avoid unnecessary trauma.

Placental abruption

Placental abruption is when the attachment of the placenta to the uterus fails, at least in part. 

The placenta starts to detach itself from the uterus before the baby is ready to be delivered, which can cause distress and bleeding that can put the mother and baby in potential danger.

Uterine atony

Uterine atony is the most common cause of hemorrhage following childbirth. In these cases, the uterus fails to contract and stays enlarged, resulting in nonstop bleeding.

Other causes

There are also many other causes of unusual or excessive bleeding after having a baby. 

These can include a retained placenta, vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC), your age, your health, the birth of multiples, and other factors that can prolong your bleeding past the four to six weeks that most women experience.

How to stop postpartum bleeding faster

Women probably think, in most cases, that there is little to nothing that can be done to go from heavy period-like bleeding to that of a light period. 

However, that’s not the case. Some truly simple things can be done to get over the bleeding more quickly.

Fundal massage

Regularly massaging the outside of your body, where your uterus is, can help it to contract back to its previous size faster, which can help to lessen the time you spend bleeding. 

Mothers who breastfeed are naturally helped with this by the production of oxytocin when breastfeeding, which is the hormone that causes contractions.

Herbal remedies

Certain herbs have been known to slow or even stop bleeding. These include witch hazel, raspberry leaf, and cotton root bark. 

Always ask your doctor before ingesting any herbal remedies, especially if you are breastfeeding.

Urinate frequently

Birth takes a toll on every woman’s body, and the uterus takes the brunt of the trauma. 

Using the restroom as soon as you have a full bladder can help to ease pressure on a sore or injured uterus, which can speed up the healing process after giving birth.

Avoid sex

Doctors don’t tell you to avoid sex six to eight weeks after delivery because they want your relationship to suffer. 

Having sex can damage your uterus, causing more bleeding and a longer recovery.

Understanding how much blood there will be after birth


Breastfeeding, as mentioned above, produces oxytocin, which is responsible for the contractions you feel when the uterus contracts. This will help your uterus return to its normal size, slowing the blood flow.

Slowing down or stopping postpartum bleeding

Being period free for almost a year while pregnant, only to bleed for up to two months afterward, is a real bummer. 

It can also lead to complications if you aren’t careful and fail to follow your doctor’s instructions to prevent infection, leading to worsening symptoms and pain.

Certain conditions you may experience during pregnancy and delivery can put you at greater risk of hemorrhage immediately following delivery. 

You should consult your doctor, ask what your risk assessment is, and ensure that your doctor is prepared and experienced in birth trauma.

It’s easy to get scared and panic. After all, anything can happen. 

That’s why it’s so important to find a doctor you trust who can communicate openly and knows how to handle any situation. 

Trust that you are in good hands, and always listen to what your body tells you.

Herbs, rest, avoiding sex, and breastfeeding can also help you to slow down or stop the bleeding you experience after childbirth.

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