The postpartum period is a complicated blend of emotions — immeasurable joy and excitement mixed with an immediate wash of unconditional love. But the recovery period can also be dotted with discomfort. Like most women, you’ll likely experience a fourth-trimester discharge known as lochia. While it’s totally normal, learning how to manage it can be a challenge.
That’s where postpartum pads come in. Discrete, comfortable, and easy to use, pads are a simple solution to lochia. Super-absorbent options, like those from Nexwear, double as a way to manage postpartum incontinence.
Finding a brand and model that meets your needs is the key to leak-free lochia days. Here’s how to find the best pads for postpartum bleeding.
Understanding Postpartum Bleeding
First, it’s important to get to know lochia on a deeper level. That way, you’ll have the understanding and confidence to treat it. Though seemingly counterintuitive, postpartum bleeding is actually a completely normal part of having a baby. For most people, it doesn’t cause any complications. This is when your body expels unwanted substances left over from 9 months of pregnancy. Things like mucus, excess blood, amniotic fluid, and uterine tissue exit your body in the form of discharge, leaving it fresh and clean.
Lochia may be different for everyone, but it tends to follow a general pattern. This usually means an initial period of heavy flow followed by a gradual lightening. Postpartum bleeding can be broken down into three stages:
- Lochia rubra
- Lochia serosa
- Lochia alba
Lochia rubra is the first and heaviest stage. For several days, you’ll experience high-volume discharge consisting mainly of blood. From here, you’ll transition to lochia serosa, with a moderate flow and watery discharge. After about 12 days, lochia alba will begin. This stage has the lightest flow, with yellowish discharge and very little blood. Lochia alba can last up to 6 weeks, gradually lightening until it disappears completely.
Lochia has a distinct, musty smell and is often accompanied by side effects like mild cramping. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like menstrual discharge, you’d be correct. The two are extremely similar, with the obvious difference being postpartum bleeding’s extended length.
The exact volume and duration of discharge depends on the person, but there are some factors that might increase your flow. These include things like breastfeeding and standing up after a long resting period. Physical activity can also lead to a higher volume of discharge. To help your body heal, make sure to take plenty of rest before diving back into heart-pumping activities.
Types of Postpartum Pads
Not all postpartum pads are created equal. Reusable, disposable, thin, thick, cloth, cotton — the possibilities are endless. To find the right pad for you, it helps to know what you’re looking at when you shop. Here’s a quick breakdown of postpartum pad types.
Disposable Postpartum Pads
If convenience is what you’re searching for, look no further than disposable postpartum pads. Just like the typical menstrual pad, these are made to be thrown away after each use — a system that naturally boasts an easy cleanup. A broad absorption core means they can soak up high volumes of fluid, while anti-leak side barriers add another layer of protection on your heaviest flow days.
Some disposable pads (like these from Nexwear) incorporate extra width and a curvy hourglass shape into their design. That way, they’ll mold seamlessly to your body, leaving no inch unprotected. Attached securely to your underwear with extra-strength security adhesive, these pads are made to resist unwanted shifting. Disposable underwear works much in the same way, with bonus lightness for a more discrete fit.
Minimalist packaging makes for maximum discretion, even when carting around extras in your purse. Plus, they couldn’t be easier to use. When you’re ready to switch to a new pad, just peel off the used one and toss it in the trash — feasible with Nexwear’s penchant for earth-friendly materials. And with zero mess, it’s no wonder disposables are known as the best pads for postpartum bleeding among parents.
Reusable Postpartum Pads
Brands like Nexwear strive to keep their processes environmentally friendly. For an even more sustainable postpartum bleeding solution, some parents turn to reusable pads. Sewn from earth-conscious materials, reusable pads are washed and dried after every use, virtually eliminating waste. A small stash of reusables may also prove more cost-effective than repeatedly purchasing disposables.
But where sustainability prevails, convenience falters. Because these pads require constant laundering, expect an extra chore on your to-do list. And when you’re on the go but need a fresh pad, you’ll have to carry the used one around until you make it home. If not done carefully, this could leave you with an unfortunate mess.
Heavy flow days call for heavy-duty solutions. Maternity pads feature an ultra-thick core to hold high volumes of discharge. Many also come equipped with a leak-proof backing for a lower risk of seepage.
On lighter days, maternity pads might leave a lot to be desired. Though they offer plenty of coverage, their comfort element is largely nonexistent. Without any flexibility, these pads may leave you making constant adjustments — to no avail.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pads for Postpartum Bleeding
Now that you know what type of pad is right for you, it’s time to learn how to pick the perfect box from a sea of sub-par competitors. To find the best pads for postpartum bleeding, there are four key factors to keep in mind:
- Comfort and fit
- Cost and sustainability
When it comes to pads, absorbency is the most critical factor. Lochia can be messy, especially during those first few days. Proper absorbency means a pad is spongy enough to hold discharge without leaking, no matter how heavy the flow is. The ideal pad is absorbent without being bulky for efficiency and discretion.
Even the most effective pad is worthless without a comfortable fit. Pads like Nexwear’s utilize thin-core technology to boost flexibility and mobility for greater ease of motion with high absorbency. Crafted with a cloth-like feel, they get the job done without being intrusive.
What your postpartum body doesn’t need is harmful chemicals. These can cause skin irritation, escalating an already uncomfortable situation. Pads made without dyes and other substances can help you stay healthy throughout recovery. Choose a pad that doesn’t use latex, lotion, or fragrances in the production process to keep unnecessary fillers away.
Postpartum bleeding’s longevity means you’ll rely on your pads every day for weeks. To manage lochia without breaking the budget, quality yet cost-effective pads are essential. Just as valuable is a product that won’t harm the environment. Eco-friendly pads keep the impact low, a trait especially important in disposables.
Tips for a Comfortable Postpartum Experience
It’s easy to assume the fourth trimester is all about the baby, but a parent’s well-being is just as meaningful. While some discomforts are impossible to avoid, there are a few ways to soothe yourself during this exciting yet exhausting period.
The importance of proper hygiene cannot be overstated — after all, there’s a new baby in the house. Make sure you’re washing your hands before and after changing a postpartum pad. Once to help the pad go on clean and the other to avoid transmitting bacteria. Replacing your pads often can help you avoid leaks and infections.
You’ll get familiar with pain in the fourth trimester. Daily stretching may combat muscle pain, while a gentle massage can do wonders for tension. Even a warm shower or bath can alleviate pain, and an ice pack remains invaluable for sore spots.
Babies make every day a new adventure filled with a barrage of emotions. Take care to be gentle with yourself. As always, don’t be afraid to ask for support in preserving your mental well-being.
The Bottom Line
Postpartum bleeding is just a page out of the epic story of parenthood. But while messy, lochia is a normal part of healing that will clear up in its own time. To make the process easier, there’s no better tool than a reliable postpartum pad.
An effective pad can save you from the leaks and irritation many parents bemoan. Nexwear’s pads and underwear are crowd favorites for a reason. Discrete, comfortable, and absorbent, they offer pleasurable protection from the ebb and flow of lochia for as long as it takes.
For postpartum support, Nexwear has you covered. Shop the collection today for reliable products you can count on.