How soon can I use tampons after giving birth?

You shouldn't use tampons until you have had your postnatal check, which usually happens six weeks after giving birth. This is because you will still have a wound at the site where the placenta joined with your uterine wall. Inserting a tampon can increase the risk of you developing an infection in this wound. Avoiding tampons will give your body a chance to heal itself.

After childbirth, women experience vaginal bleeding known as lochia. Lochia is similar to a menstrual period, but it occurs when the uterus (womb) sheds cells and tissues remaining after childbirth. It is advised that women should use sanitary towels during this time.

Lochia can last anywhere between two to six weeks. The bleeding usually begins as bright red in colour and changes over time to pinkish-brown, then cream. The length of time that you have the discharge for and the colour changes you experience is different for each woman.

Lochia is a normal postnatal experience, but you should seek medical advice if:

  • the discharge remains heavy and bright red for more than a week
  • you need to use more than one sanitary towel an hour because the towel is soaked
  • you have large blood clots
  • the discharge smells very bad
  • you have a fever or chills

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 01/05/2013

Next review due: 30/04/2015