When asked for my advice for recovering from birth, I have a few golden rules that I always share: Eat delicious nourishing foods . Sleep as much as you possibly can. Make padsicles. Wear light-colored underwear. Huh?

Yes, I recommend that all brand new mamas wear light-colored underwear, and it has to do with postpartum bleeding.

Women are often surprised to learn that they may have vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks after giving birth, and that it happens no matter what type of birth you have, vaginal or C-section. If you are pregnant and just hearing this for the first time, know that it's not your fault. The truth is that we don't do a great job at prepping women for the fourth trimester, so it's pretty common to have a lot of questions. You can read all about postpartum bleeding here , but in summary, as your uterus heals from its huge work of growing and giving birth to a baby, as well as healing from where the placenta detached, you will bleed for up to six weeks after giving birth. The flow will go from moderate and red to lighter and pink to yellow then white then clear vaginal discharge over that period of time. Here's where the white (or light-colored underwear comes in): I want you to know how much you're bleeding. Listen, periods and pretty much all things to do with vaginas are fairly stigmatized in our culture. I completely get it if seeing vaginal blood makes you uncomfortable (insert pep talk about how periods are normal, women and their bodies are amazing, here). But more than that, knowing how much you are bleeding could save your life. Postpartum hemorrhages —when someone loses too much blood after giving birth—are most common immediately following birth, but they can occur as many as 12 weeks after birth. That means that we need to stay vigilant for quite a while. If you have a sudden increase in bleeding, it's a good idea to call your provider. And if you fill a pad with blood in an hour or two, pass multiple blood clots or one blood clot that is the size of a golf ball or larger, it is an emergency—as in, get to an ER. While we're talking emergency symptoms, here are a few others to look out for:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Leg pain or swelling
  • Numbness
  • Light-headedness and dizziness
  • Anything else that feels off, really, anything!
Because it's important to know how much you are bleeding. I highly recommend white or light-colored underwear during the fourth trimester. You're going to be so busy adjusting to new-mama life: Make it easy to take care of yourself. And never, I mean never, hesitate to reach out to your provider if you are worried. If they dismiss your worries, find someone else. You are the expert of your body—if something is wrong, it is completely within your rights to demand attention. So happy recovering, and happy light-colored underwear wearing!

Here are our favorite light-colored underwear to wear postpartum:

Everyday maternity panty

pregnancy underwear For undies so light you'll feel like you aren't wearing any, the Everyday Maternity Panty from Proof is perfect. They're great for light period days, or when postpartum bleeding is slowing down since they half about half a tampon's worth of blood.

C-section recovery underwear

c section underwear For underwear that doubles as supportive belly compression, we adore Belly Bandit. It offers just enough compression to help you heal while being gentle on your incision.

C-section undies with silicone panel

c section underwear This C-section recovery underwear offers compression as well as a silicone panel that minimizes scarring and helps incisions heal faster.

High-waisted cotton underwear

underwear Somehow this underwear manages to fit snuggly while being extremely comfortable—just check out the amazing reviews! You can order a whole pack at once (just remember to save the dark ones for a few months from now, when postpartum bleeding is a thing of the past).

Mesh underwear

mesh underwear Yup. You can buy the quintessential, "welcome to the mom club here's your underwear" mesh beauties on Amazon—and I recommend that you do once you go through the ones you snagged from the hospital.
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