Your Newborn Girl's Genitals and Bleeding

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on June 15, 2021
Mum with baby

Your newborn girl's genitals have been exposed to many hormones in the uterus. Among other things, these hormones may have:

  • Made the outside of the vagina ("labia majora" and the "clitoris") a little swollen and prominent
  • Caused a thick, milky discharge in the vagina

Most dramatically, at 2 or 3 days of age, your daughter may have a little bit of bleeding from their vagina. This is perfectly normal; it is caused by the withdrawal of the hormones they were exposed to in the womb. It will be their first and last menstrual period for another decade or so.

Caring for Your Baby Girl's Genitals

Clean your daughter's genitals as you would any other part of their body. Spread the labia and gently wash out the creases; there is no need to go any deeper. Nature takes care of naturally cleaning the inside of the vagina. Use warm water only -- there's no need for soaps. Wipe from front to back to avoid contamination of the vaginal area from stool. Remember, this sensitive tissue is the same as that inside the mouth.

When to Worry About Your Newborn's Genitals

Contact your pediatric provider if you smell a foul odor from the discharge, which could indicate infection. And profuse bleeding or bleeding that doesn't fade after a few days may also need medical attention.

Show Sources

"The newborn examination: part II. Emergencies and common abnormalities involving the abdomen, pelvis, extremities, genitalia and spine,'' American Family Physician. 65(2):265-70, 2002 Jan 15.

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