The 10 Best Pads for Postpartum Bleeding of 2021

Keep your clothes protected and yourself comfortable during recovery

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
This wingless pick promises 30% more multi-fluid absorption so you can go about your day in comfort.
Have one less thing to wake you up during the night with these maxi pads that were designed to keep you dry while you snooze.
If you prefer a natural pick, this hypoallergenic option ensures no fragrance, deodorant, or chlorine to relieve sensitive skin.
Made by women for women, the chlorine-free pads are infused with rose and lavender for those who enjoy botanical scents.
Best for Heavy Flow:
Poise Incontinence Pads at Amazon
For support during your heaviest stage, Poise ensures up to 12 hours of 3-in-1 coverage as well as odor control.
An eco-friendly, cost-effective pick that can be reused, they just need to be tossed into the washer and dryer to be good as new.
Best for lighter days, the liners are less bulky than heavy-duty options and promise not to budge as you go about your day.
Best for the first few days post-birth, the 2-in-1 option is part cold pack and part pad to help ease swelling.
Best Disposable Postpartum Panties:
Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear at Amazon
Wearable alone without the need of an extra pad, they're thick enough for heavy flow and even bladder leaks.
Choose from three different styles and absorbances with the reusable panty bundle that can hold two pads of fluid.

Whether you have a vaginal delivery or cesarean section, you will likely experience postpartum bleeding that starts out heavy and red before gradually changing colors with a lighter flow. This postpartum bleeding, called lochia, comes from the uterus where the placenta was once attached. Postpartum bleeding duration varies from woman to woman but can last anywhere from two to six weeks after delivery. Throughout this time, you’ll want pads to absorb the bleeding to keep your clothes protected and yourself clean.

Here are nine of the best options out there.

Good to Know

  • Lochia will start out heavy, dark red, with some small blood clots (typically lasting 3-4 days); it will then become more pinkish in color with a lighter flow (lasting around 10 days); then it will turn into a more yellowish color before it turns clear around four weeks postpartum.
  • The cycle of lochia is the same for everyone, but the duration of each stage can vary.
  • The University of Michigan advises patients who had a vaginal delivery and experienced tearing or underwent an episiotomy to change their pads out “at least every four hours to prevent irritation and infection.”
  • If you’re changing your pad every four hours, you’ll need a minimum of six pads a day for the duration of the bleeding which, on average, lasts four weeks (so it’s safe to assume you’ll go through 150+ pads). 
  • Monitor your postpartum bleeding closely and contact your doctor if things don’t seem right, as there could be signs of postpartum hemorrhage.

Best Overall: Stayfree Maxi Pads for Women

The Stayfree Maxi Pad with super absorbency is designed for “multi-fluid absorption,” which makes it ideal for the days following childbirth when you’re bleeding, maybe using liners with witch hazel for soothing, and possibly having trouble with your bladder (recovery isn’t pretty, but at least there’s a baby to snuggle during it!). These pads have an adhesive back to keep them stuck to your underwear and have a quilted design to not only better absorb fluids but also helps to prevent leaks.

They are available in super long length to keep you covered during the early heavy days, and in regular length for when bleeding is lighter and you need less protection. They are made to be soft to avoid causing irritation as well as to neutralize odors. 

Best Overnight: Always Maxi Extra Heavy With Wings Overnight Pads

While you probably won’t be getting a ton of sleep during the early postpartum period, the last thing you want is for your pad to wake you up during the few precious hours you do get. Always Extra Heavy Overnight Maxi Pads are shaped to give you the best protection while you’re sleeping, have wings to keep them in place, and have a special “LeakGuard Core” that will soak up fluid first before it starts to spread out further onto the pad.

These are specifically designed for overnight wear and have the capacity to be worn for up to 10 hours (although, you’ll want to change it out well before that to avoid irritation or infection). Just keep a stack of them near the toilet and get into the habit of changing into a new pad every time you change the baby. 

Best Organic: Seventh Generation Ultra Thin Pads with Wings

Free of harsh chemicals and fragrances, the Seventh Generation Ultra Thin Pads with Wings (with Super Long Absorbancy) provides protection for new moms who want to be as organic as possible.

These pads have an adhesive strip to secure them to your underwear as well as wings to make extra sure they won’t budge (there’s also a wingless option). You can wear these once you get home from the hospital since they are designed for heavy flow but you can also wear them on your light days because they’re so thin compared to a lot of other bulky, super absorbency pads.

Additionally, these are made to absorb fluids and keep them away from your body to avoid too much moisture or messes. As an added bonus, Seventh Generation gives a portion of every postpartum and period product sale to organizations that provide the same products to women in need.

Best for Stitches: The Honey Pot Company Postpartum Herbal Pads with Wings

The Honey Pot Company Postpartum Herbal Pads with Wings

Recovering from a vaginal delivery while also bleeding is uncomfortable (to say the least). Once you get past the need for ice packs, you may still want some sort of soothing as you heal. You could add a liner to your pad, or you can skip that step by getting the Postpartum Herbal Pads by Honey Pot, a Black-owned brand. Each pad is made with organic cotton, mint, lavender, and aloe to provide a bit of cooling comfort.

As far as their design goes, they’re made specifically for postpartum recovery/bleeding so the cotton will provide enough absorbency for the heavy days immediately following delivery while still being breathable. Additionally, they have the traditional adhesive strip to stick to your underwear as well as wings for extra security. 

Best for Heavy Flow: Poise Incontinence Pads

Poise Moderate Absorbency Pads are a go-to for new moms during their heaviest postpartum bleeding as well as for continued protection if they’re experiencing bladder leaks. They provide wider, longer coverage than a traditional pad so you don’t have to worry about anything soaking through onto your pants. These pads are also carefully designed with a woman’s anatomy in mind, so you will get a close flexible fit, a stark contrast from a stiff bulky pad.

It’s important to remember you should be changing your pads regularly to avoid irritation and infection, but it’s also comforting to know that these pads were designed to work for up to 12 hours so you should not have to worry about any leaking. 

Best Cloth: Charlie Banana Cloth Feminine Pads

Charlie Banana Cloth Feminine Pads

Just like some parents opt for cloth diapers, some may opt for reusable cloth pads. They’ll save money long term, and create much less waste. If you’re going that route, Charlie Banana Cloth Feminine Pads are the best option because not only are they eco-friendly and free of toxins and fragrance, they’re also soft, comfortable, and effective.

Each pack comes with three reusable pads that are made from primarily polyester. Instead of sticking to your underwear with an adhesive strip like traditional pads, these snap around your underwear to stay in place. You can toss them into the washing machine and dryer after each use and reuse them again the next day.

While these pads are a great option, it’s important to note that they are regular absorbency so you’ll want to hold off on using them until your flow has lightened up a little. 

Best Panty Liner: Always Xtra Protection Dailies Feminine Panty Liners

Once you get past the heavy flow stage, you’ll still need some protection but far fewer layers. The Always Xtra Protection Extra Long Daily Liners are great for this point in postpartum bleeding because they’re thin enough to be comfortable but still thick enough to keep your clothes clean. They attach to your underwear with an adhesive strip and are longer in length so you don’t have to worry that they’ll move so much that they won’t protect you.

These pads are created to neutralize odors and quickly dry up fluids to avoid irritation and excessive moisture. Always recommends changing these liners every four hours (which is right in line with what doctors recommend) and they can also serve as a little extra protection for bladder leaks.

What Our Writers Say

"When I had my youngest (June of 2019), I stocked up on Always Xtra Protection Extra Long Daily Liners prior to labor/delivery. They provided enough protection for me after my water broke to keep me clean for the trip to the doctor’s office and then to labor and delivery while leaking amniotic fluid. I continued to wear these as protection in the days leading up to being induced (5 days on hospital bed rest) instead of the hospital option because they were thinner and more comfortable." -Ashley Ziegler, Verywell Family writer

Best Ice Pack Hybrid: Medline MDS148055pk48 Deluxe Perineal Cold Packs with Adhesive Strip

To activate the cooling ice, you just need to crack the pad by folding it over and giving it a few shakes (there’s no need to store them in the freezer), then you can attach the pad to your underwear using the adhesive strip on the back of it. These can be used intermittently for the first 48 hours after delivery. 

There’s no sugarcoating it, if you had a vaginal delivery you will want some pads with ice packs in the immediate days following birth. The ice will not only provide some soothing relief, but it will also help reduce swelling. Medline Deluxe Perineal Cold Packs are ideal for the immediate days following delivery because they are not only ice packs, but also pads so you don’t have to wear two products at once.

What Our Writers Say

"After delivery, I was given Medline Deluxe Perineal Cold Packs that I used for 3-4 days before switching back to Always Xtra Protection Extra Long Daily Liners for the duration of my bleeding." -Ashley Ziegler, Verywell Family writer

Best Disposable Postpartum Panties: Always Discreet Incontinence & Postpartum Incontinence Underwear

If you’re delivering in a hospital, you can certainly snag some of their mesh panties for postpartum recovery, but they’re not very comfortable and you won’t want to wear them once you’re home. Always Discreet Underwear will give you the same security, but will be much more comfortable and you won’t have to wear an extra pad with them. They are thick enough for heavy flow and provide all-over coverage so you don’t have to worry about ruining any of your clothes.

Additionally, this disposable underwear is made to neutralize odor, has an elastic waist for a comfortable but secure fit, and has extra protection in areas where other products commonly leak. If you continue to struggle with bladder control during the postpartum period, these panties are designed to offer you protection there, as well. 

Best Reusable: Thinx Postpartum Bundle

Thinx panties

From light days to heavier flows, Thinx Postpartum Panty bundle comes with five different reusable panties that offer a range of absorbances to suit you from day one of your postpartum journey. With three different cuts, you will love having various options to choose from when it comes to style.

The Thinx panties are made from a stretchy nylon and elastane mix, except for the briefs which are 100% cotton. The inside gusset is lined with cotton and an absorbent core that is free of chemicals and toxins.

Designed to hold up to two pads worth of fluids, these are a perfect option for less heavy days and can be used well after postpartum.

Final Verdict

Every woman’s postpartum recovery is different, so needs can vary widely. The safest bet for any mom is to get a pack of the Stayfree Maxi Pads with super absorbency because they will provide great protection, even if you determine you need something different a little later on. 

 

What to Look for in a Pad for Postpartum Bleeding

Absorbency

You spend so many months preparing for your little one's arrival that sometimes postpartum items, like pads, are often forgotten. For many days, even weeks, immediately following delivery, you'll want to have high absorbency pads on hand. After not having a menstrual cycle for several months, postpartum bleeding will likely feel like the longest (and heaviest) period of your life.

Thankfully, there are many great postpartum pads on the market that offer more than just your regular coverage. Postpartum pads are typically better in absorbency because your body is releasing more blood than usual. Because your body is releasing the blood and tissue from your uterus that aided in baby's growth, it can be similar to a wound that needs healing.

Check for pads with great absorbency, like the Stayfree Maxi Pads for Women (view at Amazon). The quilted design helps to absorb fluid better while preventing any leakage in the process. They're also very budget-friendly.

Fragrance-Free

It's no secret the vagina is already a sensitive area, especially to soaps or fragrances as they can disrupt your body's natural process. This is why it's best to find postpartum bleeding products that are fragrance-free, specifically after birth. Once you've delivered your baby, your body is extra sensitive and products with heavy scents may cause irritation.

Look for products that will not cause irritation by avoiding heavy scents and certain materials or textures. While you may want a pad that's scented to avoid any odors from occurring, you're simply doing more harm than good. Products with these chemicals throw your pH balance out of whack and confuse your body on which bacteria is good and bad. If you're concerned about an odor, talk to your doctor before trying to cover up the odor with a scented pad or any other products with fragrances.

Pads vs. Liners

Coverage is vital when it comes to postpartum bleeding which can leave many wondering if they should be using pads or liners. Is there a difference when comparing it to your regular menstrual cycle? Overall, you want pads and liners that will stay in place.

When comparing the two for postpartum bleeding, pads will work best for those days immediately after birth as that's when you'll be bleeding the heaviest. They'll absorb more fluid and prevent leakage from happening. They're typically thicker but many new parents will add a liner on top for additional coverage.

Once you've reached the point where your bleeding is becoming light, you can make the switch to liners. Liners are great for small coverage, so you want to make sure you're using them once you're many weeks out after giving birth. They're lightweight, perfect for light bleeding or spotting, and even help with any bladder leaks.

FAQs

How long does postpartum bleeding last?

Postpartum bleeding, while somewhat similar to a regular menstrual cycle, is different when it comes to how long it will last. Bleeding after delivery will last differently for each person, but there are general timeframes you can be aware of. If you're bleeding too much or have any concerns, consult your doctor first as postpartum bleeding can turn into postpartum hemorrhage. This can result in your blood pressure dropping, leaving your organs not getting the blood they need.

The first stage of Lochia, also known as Lochia Rubra, typically lasts three to four days after birth. During this time, bleeding is the heaviest and blood clots may occur. The second stage, Lochia Serosa, is four to 14 days after delivery with bleeding beginning to lighten. Lochia Alba is the final stage of the postpartum bleeding process and happens around two weeks after delivery all the way up to a month. Bleeding is light and spotting may occur.

How many postpartum pads will I need?

Because everybody's body is different, this can vary depending on each person. Bleeding can last for up to four to six weeks after birth, so you'll want to factor in that amount of time into how many pads you'll be buying. It's also important to note you should only be wearing pads, liners, or disposable underwear after giving birth.

With regular periods, you should be changing your pads every four to 8 hours. If your flow is heavy, though, you'll want to change it more frequently to every two to four hours. While you don't know how long your bleeding will last, you can assume it may be for four weeks. For four weeks worth of postpartum bleeding, with changing every four hours, you'll need a minimum of 150 pads. Any postpartum products you don't use can always be donated to those in need if you're worried about buying too many.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom to a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old daughter, each of which left her needing postpartum pads while physically recovering from delivery. Additionally, after her first labor started early due to premature water breaking, she stocked up on pads towards the end of her second pregnancy, which kept her clean on her way to the doctor’s office (and then to the hospital) after her water broke prematurely for a second time.  

Was this page helpful?
7 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mayo Clinic. C-Section Recovery: What To Expect. Updated March 17, 2020.

  2. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. Postpartum Bleeding. Updated May 29, 2019.

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Pregnancy: Physical Changes After Delivery. Updated January 1, 2018.

  4. Are scented tampons and pads bad for you? Cleveland Clinic.

  5. Postpartum bleeding stages | always discreet.

  6. Physical changes after child birth. Cleveland Clinic.

  7. Your changing body: puberty in girls.