Cramping and Bleeding After Giving Birth

Cramping and Bleeding After Giving Birth


Uterine cramping after birth is a healthy and normal process that helps the uterus contract to prevent bleeding and return to the size it was before you were pregnant. Cramping may hurt. The cramping hurts more if this is not your first baby and /or if you are nursing the baby. Bad cramps with heavy bleeding are not normal, call your midwife or doctor.

Things that will help:

  • Use a heating pad on your stomach
  • Take Motrin®, or Tylenol®
  • Rest on your stomach
  • Go to the bathroom often and before breastfeeding. A full bladder makes cramps worse.


Right after birth, your flow will be light to heavy and depends on how many times you have given birth, the size of your baby, and if there were any problems during labor.

The worst bleeding will happen during the first three days after birth. By days four to seven, your flow will become pink to brown in color. Then it changes to a cream or yellow color which may last three weeks or longer. By one to two weeks after birth, some women may have a sudden increase in bright red bleeding. This happens with the shedding of old tissue where the placenta used to be and should stop in an hour or so, if not call your midwife or doctor. 

To prevent illness, do not use tampons or douche. If you have heavy bleeding or pass clots bigger than a golf ball, it is a sign to stop what you are doing and rest. Once you lay down, if the heavy bleeding does not stop in a couple of hours, call your midwife or doctor.

If you have any questions about your bleeding call your midwife or doctor.