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Home > Medical Services > Women's and Children's Health > Maternity > Postpartum Discharge Instructions

Vaginal Discharge/Dryness

For the first few days after delivery you will experience vaginal discharge. This drainage from the birth canal is called lochia.


  • Drainage from the vagina will be like a menstrual flow for 3-4 days then it will become more watery and pale.
  • By the second week lochia will be thicker and yellow-will be minimal by 4 weeks.
  • The odor is fleshy, musty or earthy. It should not be foul smelling.
  • Occasional cramping or passing of small clots are normal.
  • It is normal for heavier flow when getting up after laying or sitting.
  • To reduce the risk of infection, use sanitary napkins or pads rather than tampons.
  • Call the doctor if :
    • bleeding is heavy or persistent;
    • you are passing clots bigger than the size of a fifty cent piece;
    • the discharge begins to have a foul odor;
    • you have a fever of 100.4 F or higher.

Vaginal Strength and Dryness:

  • The pelvic floor may take 6-7 weeks to return to normal.
  • Epesiotomies usually require about four weeks to heal.
  • Kegel exercises can help to strengthen the pelvic floor and speed healing.
  • Vaginal dryness may occur for breastfeeding moms - this is caused by diminished estrogen production.

Last Updated: 12/27/2013