Post partum infections: what are the symptoms and how to treat them

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Post partum infections

Le postpartum infections are less common nowadays in industrialized countries - thanks to the improvement of the sanitary conditions in which the delivery and the introduction of antiseptics and penicillin - however, it can happen that bacteria such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus and infect the uterus and for this it is important to recognize the symptoms of any infection and never neglect pain, swelling, fever. The infections of the uterus they can be:

  • infection of the lining of the womb (endometritis)
  • Uterine muscle infection (myometritis)
  • Infection of the areas surrounding the uterus (parametritis)

In this article

  • Postpartum infection fever
  • Symptoms of postpartum infections
  • Infections after caesarean section
  • Septicemia after a natural birth
  • Foul-smelling post-partum losses, why?
  • Septicemia after a caesarean section, symptoms
  • Postpartum infections, what to do


Postpartum infection fever

La fever above 38 ° which occurs 1-3 days after delivery may indicate an infection in progress and should be reported immediately to your doctor.

Symptoms of postpartum infections

The main symptoms that should never be ignored are:

  • fever
  • pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • pallor
  • chills
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • increased heart rate
  • the uterus is swollen and painful.

Symptoms can also appear a few days after giving birth, so when you are back home. For this reason, any anomalous manifestation that occurs even after resignation should never be underestimated.

Read also: Uterine bites

Infections after caesarean section

The chances of getting an infection after a cesarean delivery are:

  • 5 to 15% in scheduled caesarean sections performed before the onset of labor
  • 15 to 20 percent in unscheduled caesarean deliveries performed after the onset of labor.

Some studies have shown that following certain precautions can reduce the chances of contracting a 'postpartum infection during a caesarean section:

  • take an antiseptic shower in the morning of the surgery
  • remove pubic hair with scissors instead of a razor
  • use chlorhexidine-alcohol for preoperative antisepsis at the surgical site
  • taking broad-spectrum antibiotics before surgery.

Septicemia after a natural birth

Un'ipostpartum infection occurs 1 to 3% in normal vaginal deliveries. Septicemia is an acute infectious process caused by the passage of germs in the blood and sepsis is a disease that involves the whole organism and is caused by an excessive response of the organism to bacteria or other microbes.

Based on the data emerging from a project on Maternal Mortality Surveillance of the'Higher Institute of Health, after obstetric hemorrhage, the sepsi it is the second leading cause of direct maternal death with a percentage of 10%.

But what is sepsis?

The World Health Organization thus defines the maternal sepsis: "a life-threatening condition defined as organ dysfunction resulting from an infection contracted during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-abortion period or the post-partum period, i.e. the length of time between ruptures of membranes or childbirth and the 42nd day of the puerperium ".

I symptoms of a maternal sepsis, which can also help better define the correct diagnosis, are:

  • Fever above 38 ° C
  • Headache and / or neck stiffness
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Abdominal-pelvic pain and tension
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Preterm contractions and / or premature rupture of membranes in preterm pregnancies
  • Malodorous and / or puruloid amniotic fluid in case of PPROM
  • Signs of fetal or neonatal infection
Read also: How to relieve postpartum stitch pain

Foul-smelling post-partum losses, why?

The normal losses that occur after childbirth are not smelly so if we notice a bad, intense and pungent odor, we must talk to the doctor because it could be a symptom of an infection or even a mycosis.

Septicemia after a caesarean section, symptoms

Symptoms of post cesarean septicemia are:

  • chills,
  • temperature,
  • malaise,
  • hypotension,
  • He retched,
  • abdominal pain,
  • abnormal vaginal discharge.

Postpartum infections, what to do

Do not underestimate symptoms such as fever or pain, even after returning home. Infections are treated with antibiotics such as clindamycin or gentamicin (the type of antibiotic will be chosen by the doctor based on the type of bacterium suspected of causing the infection).


  • MSD Manuals
  • Infectious Morbidity After Cesarean Delivery: 10 Strategies to Reduce Risk
  • Infant Jesus Hospital
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