What is lochia?

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Lochia is the debris remaining in the uterus after the delivery of the fetus and placenta. Lochia is classified by its appearance and is an indirect indicator of the healing of the placental site on the uterus. Lochia is classified as:

  • Rubra: dark red in color and contains epithelial cells, erythrocytes, leukocytes, bacteria, shreds of decidua and occasionally fetal meconium, lanugo or vernix.
  • Serosa: pinkish-brown in color and is composed of serosa exudate
  • Alba: Creamy or yellowish in color as the presence of blood decreases due to regeneration of the uterine lining.

Cessation of lochia is a sign the placental site is healed and the uterine lining regenerated.

Lochia is the vaginal discharge after birth that is a combination of blood and the sloughed uterine lining. This discharge usually changes in color over several weeks from bright red to pink and then to a whitish tone. You should not use tampons or douche before your six-week postpartum check-up. Otherwise, contact your medical provider in these situations:
  • You are soaking through a large pad every hour;
  • The bleeding has increased and does not slow down when you rest;
  • You are concerned about the amount of bleeding, its color, or its
           duration.