Maternity pads or postpartum pads are special pads that moms use after having a baby. With these thicker pads, you can manage the bleeding and keep everything clean and comfortable. And guess what – you wonder, “How many maternity pads do I need?” For sure, it’s a good question!
These postpartum pads are often heavier than in a typical period. They can even last up to six weeks (1, 2). Now, there is another matter you should know – postpartum bleeding or lochia. It is a normal part of the recovery process. After giving birth, the body sheds the uterine lining supporting the pregnancy (2).
When lochia happens, doctors usually recommend against using tampons or menstrual cups due to the risk of infection. In this case, Maternity pads are a safer option. They can absorb postpartum bleeding without irritating any stitches or tears.
So, how many maternity pads do you need? Well, in the first few days after giving birth, a woman may need to change pads every one to two hours. So, it usually depends on the person, but most moms will need around 10-12 pads a day for the first week after having the baby. After that, you might need fewer pads each day.
Estimates suggest that a woman might need around 24 to 36 maternity pads. However, I recommend you read this blog thoroughly to know more about the maternity pad quantities you need.
The Purpose of Maternity Pads – Why Do You Need Maternity Pads?
Maternity pads play a crucial role in a woman’s postpartum recovery journey. Unlike regular sanitary pads, these pads are larger and more absorbent. Also, they are made from soft and gentle materials to ensure comfort and prevent irritation (3).
These helping cloth pieces provide maximum absorbency to manage postpartum bleeding effectively. So you can feel comfortable when the body may be sore and sensitive during pregnancy.
Maternity pads also prioritize hygiene and safety. After childbirth, the body’s reproductive organs undergo significant changes. And it makes the body condition more susceptible to infections. Moreover, these pads have materials to reduce the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions.
Then again, the larger size and enhanced absorbency! These features make the postpartum pads helpful for better coverage and protection against leakage. And I think this is crucial as postpartum bleeding can be unpredictable. You will need frequent changes.
You can remain confident using maternity pads. There will be no flaws in daily activities. Besides, the non-irritating and breathability pads keep skin dry throughout the day. In addition, maternity pads offer gentle support and protect the sensitive perineal area.
Pregnancy pads are easy to use and dispose of, saving time and effort during this busy period. Some brands even offer specially designed adhesive strips to keep the pad securely in place.
Factors That Affect Your Maternity Pads Requirement
Did you know that the time after you give birth is called ‘postpartum’? The postpartum period after childbirth is divided into several stages. Each stage has its own set of changes and challenges. Hence, these stages can significantly influence the requirement for maternity pads (1, 2, 4).
Immediately after childbirth, the first stage is characterized by heavy bleeding called lochia. This bleeding is heavier than in a typical menstrual period. It can last up to six weeks. During this phase, a woman may need to change maternity pads every 1-2 hours. You can use the pads to absorb for managing the heavy flow.
Lochia Rubra – Lochia Serosa – Lochia Alba
The bleeding gradually decreases over time. It transits from lochia rubra (bloody) to lochia serosa (pinkish-brown and watery) and finally to lochia alba (yellowish-white). As the flow decreases, a woman may switch from a highly absorbent maternity pad to a less absorbent one (4).
Besides these physical changes, the postpartum period can bring emotional challenges like postpartum blues or depression. Well, hormonal changes can cause mood swings, anxiety, and feelings of depression. While these dynamic changes do not directly affect the requirement for maternity pads, they can influence a woman’s comfort and convenience preferences.
Other factors include the presence of perineal tears or stitches, personal comfort, and hygiene preferences. For example, you may prefer larger, more absorbent pads for better coverage and leakage protection. Similarly, others may choose smaller, less noticeable pads.
Factors Influencing the Number of Maternity Pads You Need
Several factors can influence the number of maternity pads a woman needs. These factors include the heaviness of postpartum bleeding, the kind of childbirth (vaginal or cesarean), personal comfort, and personal hygiene preferences (2, 5, 6).
During lochia, a mother needs a maximum number of postpartum pads (2). Then again, the type of childbirth can also influence the number of pads required. Women with vaginal births typically experience heavier bleeding than those with cesarean sections. So they might need more pads (5).
Personal comfort and hygiene preferences can also affect the number of pads a woman uses. Some women prefer larger, absorbent pads for better coverage and leakage protection. Others may select smaller, less noticeable pads (5, 6).
Generally, a woman must start with a range of 24 to 36 pieces. However, it can vary widely depending on the factors I have mentioned above. As the nature of the discharge changes over time, you may choose to switch from a more absorbent pad to a slimmer one (2).
Types of Maternity Pads
What are the types of maternity pads? Well, you can find several types! Some of them are:
Disposable Maternity Pads:
Classic or Briefs:
These pads are similar in shape to regular sanitary towels, with or without wings. They are designed to be absorbent and provide leakage protection. Some women prefer to use absorbent maternity underwear for the first few days after giving birth, as they are leak-proof (7).
Covidien Curity Maternity Pad Heavy
These pads are individually wrapped and have adhesive strips on the back for easy attachment to undergarments. They are designed to provide maximum absorbency and leakage protection during heavy flow.
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Reusable Maternity Pads:
Luxury Cotton Cloth Maternity Cheeky Wipes
These pads are reusable and made of double-layer organic cotton. They have poppers instead of an adhesive strip to keep them secure. They can be washed and dried for repeated use.
Cotton, Natural Cotton Maternity Pads with Wings
These pads are made with a chemical-free cotton cover sheet and have wings for security. They are suitable for sensitive skin and can be used for heavy overnight bleeding.
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Pros and Cons: Disposable vs. Reusable Maternity Pads
Disposable Maternity Pads:
Materials and absorbency
Disposable pads are made with highly absorbent materials and have a waterproof backing to prevent leakage. They often feel drier and more comfortable against the skin than reusable pads.
Disposable pads are convenient as they can be thrown away after use, requiring no additional maintenance or washing.
Disposable pads are generally more affordable upfront. But the cost can add up over time as they must be continuously repurchased.
Disposable pads contribute to waste as they are not biodegradable. They are made from synthetic materials that go through chemical processing, which can harm the environment.
Reusable Maternity Pads:
Materials and absorbency
Reusable pads are made from natural materials such as cotton or organic bamboo. They may be less absorbent than disposable pads and require more frequent changes to prevent leakage.
Reusable pads are more environmentally friendly as they produce less waste than disposable pads. However, the manufacturing process of the materials used in reusable pads and the frequent washing required can impact the environment.
While reusable pads may have a higher upfront cost, they can save money in the long run as they can be used multiple times.
How Many Maternity Pads Do I Need: The Estimation
To estimate the number of maternity pads you will need postpartum, consider the following factors:
Duration of Postpartum Bleeding
The length of time you will experience postpartum bleeding can vary from woman to woman. On average, postpartum bleeding lasts for about 4 to 6 weeks. However, it can sometimes extend up to 8 weeks or more.
The flow of postpartum bleeding is typically heaviest in the first few days after childbirth and gradually decreases over time. It is vital to know your flow intensity to determine the number of maternity pads you will need.
Pad Changing Frequency
The frequency at which you change your maternity pad will also impact the number of pads you will need. Some women prefer to change pads every 2 to 4 hours, while others may need to change them more frequently.
Based on these factors, you can use the following estimation as a guideline:
Calculate the average number of pads used per day.
Determine how many pads you typically use in a day during the heaviest flow phase. For example, if you change pads every 2 hours and use 6 pads daily, you will need around 42 pads per week (6 pads/day * 7 days).
Adjust for the duration of postpartum bleeding.
Multiply the number of pads needed per week by the estimated number of weeks you will experience postpartum bleeding. For example, if you count four weeks of postpartum bleeding, you would need approximately 168 pads (42 pads/week * 4 weeks).
I suggest you keep a few extra pads on hand for emergency needs.
Night-time use may require a different approach when it comes to maternity pads. Look for pads labeled “overnight” or “maxi” as they are longer and more absorbent. Hence, the added length and absorption can provide better coverage and protection during sleep. It can reduce the risk of leaks (8).
You may go significantly longer between pad changes at night as your flow decreases. However, it’s still a good idea to have extra pads handy.
Consider placing a few pads within easy reach of your bed for quick changes during the night. A small stockpile nearby can minimize disruptions to your sleep (9).
You might want to wear loose-fitting, breathable pajama bottoms for added comfort at night. It can help prevent irritation and keep you more comfortable while sleeping.
Consider placing a protective sheet or towel on your bed, especially during the first few nights when the flow is heavier. It can make clean-ups easier if leaks occur (source: 10).
Do you need to go outside while you are pregnant? Being prepared is essential when you’re out and about during the postpartum period.
Consider carrying travel packs of maternity pads, which are often individually wrapped. It will help you to store it easily and use it discreetly. A small zip-lock bag or a pouch can be a convenient and compact storage solution. However, pack a few extra pads in your bag if you need to change them more often than expected (source: 11).
For short trips, a few hours long, packing 2-4 pads should generally suffice. For longer trips that last a full day or more, it’s wise to pack more pads, perhaps 6-8 per day. It depends on your flow and planned activities (12).
How Long do You Wear Pads After Delivery?
Postpartum bleeding can last up to six weeks after delivery. During the first few days, the bleeding is typically heavier and darker in color, and then it gradually transitions to lighter bleeding or spotting.
It is recommended to use postpartum pads instead of tampons during this time. The number of pads needed varies. But it is recommended to buy at least two or three packs of 12 maternity pads.
You should change the pad regularly, every 3-5 hours or every time you go to the bathroom. It is also recommended to use pads that are mostly or 100% cotton to reduce irritation.
Congratulations on reaching the end of this blog post on managing post-delivery bleeding! I hope that this article guides you through this unique and sometimes challenging phase of the postpartum period.
Remember, every woman’s postpartum experience is unique. And it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for guidance and support.
Always prioritize self-care, rest, and seek support from loved ones during this particular time.
Congratulations again on your new arrival, and I wish you a smooth and joyful postpartum journey!
Maternity Pads Suggestions
These are some proper, most recommended postpartum pads available online:
- Always Discreet Postpartum Pads: Check the Price
- Natracare Slim Fitting Ultra Pads with Wings: Check the Price
- Amazon Basics Incontinence, Bladder Control & Postpartum Pads: Check the Price
- Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads: Check the Price
- Natracare Maternity Pads: Check the Price
Born in Texas, Jennifer loves to spend time with her kids. Often, she shares her thoughts from the experience of being a mother. She focuses on surprising the Momoutfit readers with incredible information. Her vision is being a better mother, a visionary person.