Nosebleeds are very common and rarely serious. We feel like we've said those words hundreds of times, and we'll probably repeat them a few hundred more times.
They are true, after all. As scary as a nosebleed can be, it's more likely the result of nose-picking or dry air than anything serious.
But there are some exceptions, sometimes when you need to be a little more vigilant. One such time is when you've just had a C-section.
The odds are still on your side and it's probably nothing, but you've just had major surgery, so you're in a vulnerable position.
Are Nosebleeds Common After a C-Section?
It's normal to experience bleeding after giving birth, but that bleeding is usually vaginal.
The vaginal bleeding that follows a birth is known as "lochia". It comes from where the placenta attached to the womb and can occur for several weeks after vaginal and c-section births.
Nosebleeds are not as common, but if you experienced them a lot before and during your pregnancy, you may also experience them after giving birth.
The occasional mild nosebleed is usually nothing to worry about. It could be caused by nose-picking, nose-blowing, or dry air.
The lining of your nose is very delicate and there are a lot of small blood vessels in there. If that lining becomes damaged, the blood vessels can rupture and they will start bleeding.
If you are bleeding heavily, the bleeding doesn't stop, or you suffer from frequent nosebleeds, it could be more serious.
In such cases, you should consult your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis. They will inspect your nose, ask you some simple questions, and, if necessary, run some tests.
Some of the causes of nosebleeds after a C-section include:
- High Blood Pressure: If your blood pressure is high, you are more susceptible to nosebleeds and may bleed more heavily than you would with healthy blood pressure. It's not uncommon to have high blood pressure after giving birth. Not only are you still recovering, but you have a new baby to deal with, and that can be very stressful.
- Medications: If you take medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and warfarin, you may experience heavier bleeding. This is something that your doctor should know about before and after the birth.
- Blood Disorders: Although rare, heavy bleeding and frequent nosebleeds could be a sign of a blood clotting disorder.
What is a Postpartum Hemorrhage?
As many as 5% of women experience a postpartum hemorrhage, and it's more common following cesarean delivery.
A postpartum hemorrhage is excessive bleeding that typically occurs after the placenta is delivered. It can lead to excessive blood loss, shock, and death, and it's more common in women who:
- Are obese
- Have experienced prolonged labor
- Have had many previous births
- Were under general anesthesia
- Have an infection
It has also been said that women who experience nosebleeds during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from postpartum hemorrhage.
A study of 1470 pregnant women and 275 non-pregnant women found that 10.7% of women with nosebleeds suffered from a postpartum hemorrhage while only 6.7% of those without nosebleeds reported the condition.
Does that mean your risk is greater if you have a lot of nosebleeds during pregnancy? Potentially, but only slightly. It's also worth noting, however, that postpartum hemorrhage is rare while nosebleeds during pregnancy are not.
Are Nosebleeds Common During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the blood vessels in the nose become swollen. This increases the risk of nosebleeds and may also create heavier and more noticeable bleeding.
Pregnancy nosebleeds can occur in all women, including those who have had few or no nosebleeds in the past.
How Can I Stop Nosebleeds Before and After Giving Birth?
The advice for stopping nosebleeds is the same whether you're pregnant or not.
First, you should sit down and pinch the soft part of your nose using your thumb and index finger. Apply enough pressure to stop the blood flow but not enough to cause pain.
Try to stay calm. This will prevent your blood pressure from rising and making the issue worse.
Lean forward slightly to prevent the blood from running down the back of your throat.
Wait for at least 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. If the bleeding hasn't stopped, repeat this process.
You can also use Nampons to speed up this process. Nampons are applied inside the bleeding nostril where they absorb the blood and gradually expand. Nampons also contain a blood clotting agent that helps to form a blood clot and halt the bleeding.
If the bleeding hasn't stopped after 20 minutes, or the blood flow is heavy, seek emergency medical care.
If the above method works, but you suffer from multiple nosebleeds every week, contact your doctor.
Your doctor might just recommend buying a humidifier or dabbing a little petroleum jelly on your nose, but it's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.
Are Nosebleeds Common After Surgery?
It depends on the type of surgery and whether or not the patient is predisposed to nosebleeds.
Nosebleeds are definitely more common following nasal surgery and can be expected for several days afterward.
You may also suffer from nosebleeds if you've had tubes up your nose or have experienced any other form of nasal irritation.
When Should I Be Concerned About Bleeding After a C-Section?
It's normal for your incision site to drain over the first couple of days, but you shouldn't experience any bleeding.
Your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to keep this area clean, and it's important to follow this advice to prevent infection.
Look out for symptoms such as cramping, pain while urinating, nausea, fainting, and dizziness, as well as flu-like symptoms. All of these could indicate infection or other issues.
Vaginal bleeding that increases over time is also a cause for concern, as is bleeding that gets darker in color and has an unusual smell.
If you need to change your sanitary pad more than once an hour, it's a sign that you're bleeding too much and you should contact your healthcare provider.