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Updated May 20, 2014

Definition: The medical term for the vaginal bleeding and discharge that occurs after childbirth. Lochia contains blood, tissue from the placenta, and mucus.

There are three stages of lochia:

  • Lochia rubra -- the first three to five days of postpartum vaginal discharge. Lochia rubra appears very bright red and contains a large amount of red blood cells.

  • Lochia serosa -- occurs until about the tenth day after childbirth. Lochia serosa is thinner than lochia rubra and is brownish or pink.

  • Lochia alba -- occurs next, lasting up to six weeks after childbirth. Lochia alba is white or yellowish-white.

All three stages of lochia have an odor similar to that of normal menstrual flow. If you experience an offensive or abnormal odor during lochia, contact your physician for evaluation.
Also Known As: postpartum bleeding, postpartum vaginal discharge, bleeding after childbirth
All women experience lochia after childbirth.
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