In cloth pads, "Absorbency" is how much liquid the pad will hold. How absorbent it is.
Absorbency levels can vary between pad brands, as different fabrics, lengths of pad and layers will all affect the absorbency.
Also absorbencies are given in "Light", "medium" "heavy" and other such terms that have no definite amount. So the actual absorbency level can be up to interpretation. What is a medium absorbency pad for a woman with light flow may be considered to be a light absorbency for someone with heavy flow. However as a general guide, absorbencies are usually defined as:
- Pantyliner - suitable for spotting or very light flow. May also be used for backup for internal protection. Usually doesn't have waterproofing.
- Light - as absorbent or slightly more so than a pantyliner. Use on the first signs of your period or at the end, when you want something to protect your underpants but don't need anything very absorbent. May have waterproofing
- Medium - This should be absorbent enough to last a 2-6 hours on the days of your period that you have medium flow, like the average disposable pad. This is the most common absorbency for a pad as you would expect to have most of this type in your pad stash.
- Heavy - This would be used by women with a heavy flow or overnight. Almost always waterproofed or significantly thicker than other absorbencies.
- Post partum/Night - some brands have a special level of absorbencies for these. Because night pads need to be worn for a long time they need to be very absorbent. Some women find bleeding slows over night, but some do not. Post partum bleeding is very heavy, so again, a very absorbent pad is required. Some women with a heavy flow find that these specialty pads are good for their heavy days.