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Lochia is the term for the normal bleeding that occurs postpartum. It is normal shedding of blood and decidua (lining of the uterus). It is red/red brown at the beginning, and lasts for the first few days following delivery. Vaginal discharge then becomes increasingly watery, called lochia serosa (pinkish brown), which lasts for two to three weeks. Ultimately, the discharge turns yellowish-white, the lochia alba.

The total volume of postpartum lochial secretion is 200 to 500 mL, which passes over a mean duration of one month. Interestingly, up to 15 percent of women continue to pass lochia for six to eight weeks, the time of the standard postpartum visit. The duration of lochia does not appear to be related to lactation or to the use of either estrogen containing or progesterone only contraceptives, but women with bleeding diatheses may be prone to longer duration of passing lochia.



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