Vaginal bleeding in newborn baby girls is more common than you would think. Just like menstruation, it's a scientific phenomenon. It may happen to some girls after birth and might not happen to the rest. Either way, it's not a big deal. Here's all that you should know about vaginal bleeding in newborns.
New parents face a lot of unexpected situations when it comes to their first child. You might have never changed a diaper before and now after having a child, that’s someting you have to do a lot. In such a situation, it can be horryfying for a new mom to find blood stains on her daughter’s diaper.
It’s believed that a girl gets her first period in the first week of her life. Well, it’s not a myth! It’s true that a baby girl bleeds from her vagina, 2 to 3 days after she’s born, but it’s not her first period. So if you’re expecting or have just given birth to a baby girl, this article is just for you.
Newborn Baby Bleeding – Is It Normal?
Vaginal bleeding in baby girls is a common concern in the paediatric population. It often raises questions of sexual abuse in the minds of those concerned. Worry not! Vaginal bleeding in newborn babies is a natural, scientific phenomenon. It’s very common for baby girls to have a yellowish-white discharge and bleed after birth. It’s understandable how scary it may be for a new mom to see any type of discharge on her newborn. Rest assured, it’s very common and rarely a cause of worry. This phenomenon is called pseudo-menstruation, which is basically bleeding from the uterus that resembles menstruation, but is not associated with menstrual changes. As scary as it sounds, it’s normal.
Causes of Pseudo-menstruation
Even though pseudo-menstruation in newborns is common, it mostly occurs during the neonatal period (the interval between birth to one month of age). Pseudo-menstruation in babies mainly occurs due to the withdrawal of the mother’s hormones from the baby’s body. When the baby girl is in the womb, she is exposed to a lot of her mother’s reproductive hormones.These hormones enter her tiny body and are necessary for the baby girl to develop and sustain. However, after birth, these hormones begin to withdraw from the baby’s body. This withdrawal is in the form of a discharge from the vagina of the newborn, which is usually thick, greyish-yellow, white or maybe even tinted red.
Apart from vaginal bleeding, these hormones also lead to engorged genitals and swollen breast buds for a few days after birth.
Apart from pseudo-menstruation, here are a few other reasons why you may see blood on your baby’s diaper.
Inserting foreign objects inside the baby’s genitals while cleaning can cause vaginal bleeding.
A nappy rash may lead to skin tearing, thus leading to vaginal bleeding.
Poor hygiene around the genitals increases the risk of infection which may cause bleeding and irritation.
Constipation (passing hard stools) can cause the anus to crack a bit, which is why the baby’s anus bleeds.
Blood in the urine can be a sign of infection. In this case, you must rush to your paediatrician without further delay.
Caring for Your Baby Girl’s Genitals
There are two things you must keep in mind while cleaning and taking care of your baby girl’s genitals. Firstly, don’t panic! Blood in your baby’s diaper does not always mean something bad. And second – treat your baby’s genitals like you would treat any other delicate part on her body (like her mouth, or her eyes, etc.) - delicately and with utmost care. Following are a few precautions that must be taken while caring for your baby’s genitals.
Use lukewarm water.
While washing off the creases on your baby’s genitals, make sure you use lukewarm water and a baby wipe or soft cloth. Ensure that the water is not extremely hot or cold before you wash your baby’s genitals.
Say no to soap.
No matter how child safe your soap is, it’s not a good idea to rinse your 1 week old baby’s genitals with soap. The reason being, your baby’s genitals are delicate and soap may cause the skin around the area to become rough and dry. It may also lead to infections. It’s best to stick to lukewarm water to clean your baby’s genitals.
Smartly work your way.
When you're cleaning your baby’s genitals, make sure you work your way from front to back. This means that you should clean the vagina first and then the anus. Here, extreme care must be taken to avoid vaginal infections from poop.
Careful cleaning is the key.
While cleaning your baby’s genitals, clean just the outer surface delicately. Don’t bother to go deeper in order to clean the creases. This can cause pain to your baby and may even aggravate the bleeding. Do not rub your baby's genitals in a harsh manner to clean something that is stuck inside the vagina. It’s best to let nature clean the inside of your baby’s vagina and allow the thick discharge to pass out naturally.
Frequent checks are a must.
Your baby’s vagina may bleed for a day or two and you may find a few red blood spots on her diaper. During this phase, you should make it a point to change her diapers more often. Keep checking her diaper and in case there’s blood on it, change it immediately. Your baby’s genitals are very delicate, which is why even a slight delay can cause a rash or an infection.
Hygiene is priority.
Make it a point to clean your baby’s genitals regularly. The skin around the area must always be dry and clean. This reduces the risk of nappy rashes and other infections that lead to vaginal bleeding in babies. Always remember to pat your baby’s genitals dry, with a soft cloth after rinsing them.
Foul odour is a major sign.
If you smell a foul odour from your baby’s vaginal discharge, it could be a sign of infection. In this case, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Watch out for ample bleeding.
In case your baby is bleeding too much, you must rush to your paediatrician. Do the same if her bleeding exceeds 3-4 days. It’s a simple scientific phenomenon which shouldn’t last more than 3 days.
WATCH:A Guide to Cleaning Your Baby Girl's Genitals
Key Takeaway:It's very normal for new-born baby girls to have a little bit of vaginal discharge and for them to have a little bit of spotting on the diaper.It occurs because of the hormones the mother has passed to the child while the child was in her womb.:
If you notice a little bit of discharge, simply wipe it using a baby wipe.
Visit a paediatrician in case you notice excessive bleeding.
In case of cuts and similar concerning things, seek immediate medical attention.
When to Worry About Your Newborn’s Genitals
Vaginal bleeding in newborns is not worrisome. It may happen to some babies while it may never happen to others. The bottom line is that vaginal bleeding is not the part you should be worried about, it’s the accompanying signs.
Keenly observe your baby’s genitals and look for signs that are unfamiliar. While bleeding for over 3 to 4 days week is normal, anything beyond that calls for concern. If you notice that the colour of the blood is dark red, you must immediately contact your paediatrician. Foul smell and excess bleeding are again signs you should watch out for. Apart from these generic signs, here are a few instances when you should be worrying about your newborn’s genitals.
Sometimes the labia (lips covering the vagina) stick together with a thin membrane. It is something that is not supposed to happen at birth. This occurrence increases the chance of infection and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Swollen genitals in newborns are very common after birth. The concern arises when the swelling does not subside even after 4 to 5 days . Basic medication will be provided by your paediatrician for swollen genitals, but in any case it should not be overlooked.
An infection in the urinary tract is also common in babies that wear nappies. Bacteria from the stools get into the urinary tract and cause an infection. This infection makes it very difficult for the baby to pass urine and can even cause a slight fever. This is when you should worry about your baby’s health and visit your doctor
The statement, “A newborn baby girl gets her first period within her first week of life” is a myth. Surely a baby girl bleeds from her vagina within the first few days of birth, but it’s not her period. Vaginal bleeding in babies is common and it’s not a big deal. It might never happen for some babies which also is normal. At all times, it’s essential to keep your baby’s genitals clean and hygienic which will in turn keep your baby healthy and happy.