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Bleeding resumed in clean days

1 March, 2009

Question:

I had a baby 5 weeks ago. I did a hefseik tahara and started counting clean days. On the third day's bedika there was a tiny speck of bright red, while the rest was all clear. I assumed that it was a bad bedikah and threw it away, ready to start over again that evening. After the bedikah I felt a slight irritation that I have never felt before and feared that I may have scratched myself. That evening I did a new hefseik and it was all completely bright red. Can it be that I started bleeding all over again, or was it really irritation? What I did was right or not?
Thanks


Answer:

Mazal tov on the birth of your baby!

The median amount of time for a woman to bleed postpartum is three to four weeks. This means that fifty percent of women bleed longer than this.  (Up to eight weeks is common.)

Furthermore, postpartum bleeding (lochia) often comes and goes in waves, and sometimes women begin to count seven clean days only to experience light or heavy bleeding again later in the counting. In other words, the renewed bleeding you experienced is consistent with postpartum bleeding and you may have to wait longer than anticipated before becoming tehorah.

However, it is also possible that you irritated yourself.  If pain of any sort continues, please contact your physician.  In general, please be very gentle with bedikot postpartum.  If you feel irritated, given that you are postpartum, there may be room to reduce the number of bedikot required.  Please get back to us if this is the case.

In general, it is best to consult a halachic authority prior to deciding that a bedikah has invalidated the clean days.  There sometimes is ground for leniency when an irritation is suspected.  Now that you have begun to bleed more substantially, you will have to perform a new hefsek taharah when the bleeding stops, and begin a new set of clean days. 


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