I’m always amazed by how much thought mothers-to-be put into welcoming their baby into the world. Surprisingly few new mothers seem to be aware of what to expect from their own bodies after giving birth, however. Maybe you know to expect some bleeding after birth, but did you know that it will last up to six weeks? You owe it to yourself to learn everything you need to know about postpartum pads.
Prepare yourself for lochia
The total volume of blood in a woman’s body will actually increase by 30% to 50% during pregnancy. Because of this, you can expect around six weeks of postpartum bleeding, also known as lochia. The heaviest flow will occur during the first two weeks after giving birth, then gradually reduce over the next four weeks. This is your body shedding the lining of the uterus, which will shrink back to its regular size during this time.
Getting Back into the Flow of Things
Just like your usual menstrual cycle, there are certain activities that can result in a heavier flow. New moms report a few activities in particular that can cause this, like getting out of bed, breastfeeding, or bowel movements. Ultimately, postpartum pads will be the best possible protection against continuous bleeding.
Why You Should Avoid Regular Sanitary Napkins
Because you can expect a much heavier flow than your regular cycle and for an extended period of time, it’s important to choose postpartum pads with the appropriate features. One of the top choices of new moms are Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow, for example, which are designed to be twice as thick as regular pads and can protect for up to ten hours.
Poise Pads are also quite popular. Although these were originally designed as a safeguard against incontinence, they are a popular choice for postpartum pads. This is mainly because they are much more absorbent than regular pads and remain secured to underwear for a long period of time. These are also designed to be worn discretely beneath different types of pants such as workpants, jeans, and sweatpants (not thin enough for yoga pants, though!).
Will My Needs Change Over the Six Weeks?
While bleeding will be heaviest during the first two weeks, you can expect this to reduce enough during the following weeks that you can switch to thinner pads. In the last week, simple panty liners should suit your needs.
In short, the main features that you should look for in postpartum pads are thickness, how long they will hold up (10 hours is ideal), and how secure they are (look for ones with wide wings). With these features in mind, you will be prepared to face your first six weeks of motherhood without letting lochia distract you from quality time with your baby.