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Postpartum Complications

The postpartum period is typically defined as the first 6–12 weeks following delivery of an infant. During this time, postpartum complications can occur either as a result of the normal physiologic changes the body undergoes to return to its prepregnancy state or as complications of the labor Labor Labor is the normal physiologic process defined as uterine contractions resulting in dilatation and effacement of the cervix, which culminates in expulsion of the fetus and the products of conception. Normal and Abnormal Labor and delivery process. These changes include those in the reproductive, urinary, cardiovascular, GI, and endocrine systems. In addition, postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage, postpartum fever Postpartum fever Postpartum fever is a common and often preventable complication that occurs within the 1st 10 postpartum days. The most common etiology is an infection of the uterine lining known as endometritis. Other common etiologies include surgical or perineal wound infections and mastitis. Postpartum Fever, and psychiatric disorders are common complications during this time frame. Because of the complexity and clinical importance of these topics, they are each discussed in separate concept articles.

Last updated: 29 Jun, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

The postpartum period

The postpartum period is typically defined as the period of time following an obstetric delivery: 

  • Begins with delivery of the infant
  • Duration: 6–12 weeks (Expert opinions vary on when the postpartum period officially ends.)

Postpartum complications

During the postpartum period, the mother’s body physically returns to its prepregnant state. There are a number of potential complications that can occur during this time, some of which can cause significant morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status. Some of the most important include:

  • Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage
  • Postpartum fever Postpartum fever Postpartum fever is a common and often preventable complication that occurs within the 1st 10 postpartum days. The most common etiology is an infection of the uterine lining known as endometritis. Other common etiologies include surgical or perineal wound infections and mastitis. Postpartum Fever (typically from infection)
  • Postpartum psychiatric disorders Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders The postpartum (PP) period is a common time for the emergence or exacerbation of psychiatric disorders. Postpartum blues, PP depression, and PP psychosis are 3 of the most common psychiatric disorders experienced in the PP period. Although both genders are affected, PP is more common in women. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • Changes/complications in the reproductive system:
    • Uterine involution
    • Lochia
    • Perineal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
    • Resumption of ovulation Ovulation The discharge of an ovum from a rupturing follicle in the ovary. Menstrual Cycle and the need for contraception
  • Urinary system:
    • Urinary retention Urinary retention Inability to empty the urinary bladder with voiding (urination). Delirium
    • Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence (UI) is involuntary loss of bladder control or unintentional voiding, which represents a hygienic or social problem to the patient. Urinary incontinence is a symptom, a sign, and a disorder. The 5 types of UI include stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional. Urinary Incontinence
    • Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) (UTIs)
  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary systems:
    • Return to prepregnant state
    • Deep vein thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis) and/or pulmonary embolism Pulmonary Embolism Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a potentially fatal condition that occurs as a result of intraluminal obstruction of the main pulmonary artery or its branches. The causative factors include thrombi, air, amniotic fluid, and fat. In PE, gas exchange is impaired due to the decreased return of deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
    • Postpartum cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles (myocardium) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function in the absence of other heart disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular disease, and congenital heart disease). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types
    • Hypertensive disorders
  • GI system:
    • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
    • Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are normal vascular cushions in the anal canal composed of dilated vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and connective tissue. They do not cause issues unless they are enlarged, inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. Patients often present with rectal bleeding of bright red blood, or they may have pain, perianal pruritus, or a palpable mass. Hemorrhoids
    • Clostridioides difficile infection/fulminant colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis
  • Endocrine system:
    • Postpartum thyroiditis Thyroiditis Thyroiditis is a catchall term used to describe a variety of conditions that have inflammation of the thyroid gland in common. It includes pathologies that cause an acute illness with severe thyroid pain (e.g., subacute thyroiditis and infectious thyroiditis) as well as conditions in which there is no clinically evident inflammation and the manifestations primarily reflect thyroid dysfunction or a goiter (e.g., painless thyroiditis and fibrous Riedel’s thyroiditis). Thyroiditis
    • Sheehan syndrome ( hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism is a condition characterized by pituitary hormone deficiency. This condition primarily results from a disease of the pituitary gland, but it may arise from hypothalamic dysfunction. Pituitary tumors are one of the most common causes. The majority of cases affect the anterior pituitary lobe (adenohypophysis), which accounts for 80% of the gland. Hypopituitarism)
  • Nervous system Nervous system The nervous system is a small and complex system that consists of an intricate network of neural cells (or neurons) and even more glial cells (for support and insulation). It is divided according to its anatomical components as well as its functional characteristics. The brain and spinal cord are referred to as the central nervous system, and the branches of nerves from these structures are referred to as the peripheral nervous system. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification:
    • Neuropathy Neuropathy Leprosy
    • Complications of neuraxial anesthesia Anesthesia A state characterized by loss of feeling or sensation. This depression of nerve function is usually the result of pharmacologic action and is induced to allow performance of surgery or other painful procedures. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts
    • Strokes and seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

Summary of the most important complications

Three of the most important complications are postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage, postpartum fever Postpartum fever Postpartum fever is a common and often preventable complication that occurs within the 1st 10 postpartum days. The most common etiology is an infection of the uterine lining known as endometritis. Other common etiologies include surgical or perineal wound infections and mastitis. Postpartum Fever, and postpartum psychiatric disorders Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders The postpartum (PP) period is a common time for the emergence or exacerbation of psychiatric disorders. Postpartum blues, PP depression, and PP psychosis are 3 of the most common psychiatric disorders experienced in the PP period. Although both genders are affected, PP is more common in women. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders; each of these is discussed in full detail on their own pages, but highlights are briefly summarized below.

Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage:

  • Primary causes include (the 4 Ts):
    • Tone: uterine atony (by far the most common)
    • Tissue: retained membranes and/or placental fragments
    • Trauma: bleeding lacerations of the perineum Perineum The body region lying between the genital area and the anus on the surface of the trunk, and to the shallow compartment lying deep to this area that is inferior to the pelvic diaphragm. The surface area is between the vulva and the anus in the female, and between the scrotum and the anus in the male. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy, vagina Vagina The vagina is the female genital canal, extending from the vulva externally to the cervix uteri internally. The structures have sexual, reproductive, and urinary functions and a rich blood supply, mainly arising from the internal iliac artery. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy, and/or cervix Cervix The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Externally, the cervix is lined by stratified squamous cells; however, the cervical canal is lined by columnar epithelium. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy; uterine rupture Uterine Rupture A complete separation or tear in the wall of the uterus with or without expulsion of the fetus. It may be due to injuries, multiple pregnancies, large fetus, previous scarring, or obstruction. Antepartum Hemorrhage
    • Thrombin Thrombin An enzyme formed from prothrombin that converts fibrinogen to fibrin. Hemostasis: coagulopathies Coagulopathies Hemothorax (e.g., DIC DIC Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition characterized by systemic bodywide activation of the coagulation cascade. This cascade results in both widespread microvascular thrombi contributing to multiple organ dysfunction and consumption of clotting factors and platelets, leading to hemorrhage. Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation; undiagnosed von Willebrand disease Von Willebrand disease Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a bleeding disorder characterized by a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor (vWF). Von Willebrand factor is a multimeric protein involved in the plate adhesion phase of hemostasis by forming a bridge between platelets and damaged portions of the vessel wall. Von Willebrand Disease)
  • Management:
    • Uterotonic agents: oxytocin, misoprostol Misoprostol A synthetic analog of natural prostaglandin e1. It produces a dose-related inhibition of gastric acid and pepsin secretion, and enhances mucosal resistance to injury. It is an effective anti-ulcer agent and also has oxytocic properties. Eicosanoids, methergine, hemabate
    • Manual compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma of the uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy
    • Uterine tamponade Tamponade Pericardial effusion, usually of rapid onset, exceeding ventricular filling pressures and causing collapse of the heart with a markedly reduced cardiac output. Pericarditis (e.g., with Bakri balloon)
    • Surgically placed compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma sutures
    • Hysterectomy (last resort)

Postpartum fever Postpartum fever Postpartum fever is a common and often preventable complication that occurs within the 1st 10 postpartum days. The most common etiology is an infection of the uterine lining known as endometritis. Other common etiologies include surgical or perineal wound infections and mastitis. Postpartum Fever:

  • Primary causes (the 7 Ws WS Williams syndrome (WS), also known as Williams-beuren syndrome (WBS), is a genetic disease caused by a microdeletion on chromosome 7. Affected individuals have a characteristic elfin facies and short stature. Cognitive, developmental, and behavioral issues are common. Additionally, cardiovascular, connective tissue, endocrine, and renal anomalies may be present. Williams Syndrome):
    • Womb: endometritis Endometritis Endometritis is an inflammation of the endometrium, the inner layer of the uterus. The most common subtype is postpartum endometritis, resulting from the ascension of normal vaginal flora to the previously aseptic uterus. Endometritis (most common, presents with fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever + uterine tenderness)
    • Wound: surgical or perineal laceration Laceration Torn, ragged, mangled wounds. Blunt Chest Trauma wound infection
    • Woobies: mastitis Mastitis Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue with or without infection. The most common form of mastitis is associated with lactation in the first few weeks after birth. Non-lactational mastitis includes periductal mastitis and idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM). Mastitis
    • Water: UTI UTI Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Wind: atelectasis Atelectasis Atelectasis is the partial or complete collapse of a part of the lung. Atelectasis is almost always a secondary phenomenon from conditions causing bronchial obstruction, external compression, surfactant deficiency, or scarring. Atelectasis, aspiration pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia, pulmonary embolism Pulmonary Embolism Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a potentially fatal condition that occurs as a result of intraluminal obstruction of the main pulmonary artery or its branches. The causative factors include thrombi, air, amniotic fluid, and fat. In PE, gas exchange is impaired due to the decreased return of deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Pulmonary Embolism
    • Walking: septic pelvic thrombophlebitis and/or DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis
    • Wonder drugs: drug fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
  • Management:
    • Treat infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease with antibiotics that are safe for breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding mothers.
    • For endometritis Endometritis Endometritis is an inflammation of the endometrium, the inner layer of the uterus. The most common subtype is postpartum endometritis, resulting from the ascension of normal vaginal flora to the previously aseptic uterus. Endometritis, the standard regimen is gentamicin Gentamicin Aminoglycosides + clindamycin Clindamycin An antibacterial agent that is a semisynthetic analog of lincomycin. Lincosamides +/– ampicillin Ampicillin Semi-synthetic derivative of penicillin that functions as an orally active broad-spectrum antibiotic. Penicillins.
    • Infected wounds and abscesses may need to be opened, irrigated/debrided, and either reclosed or allowed to heal by secondary intention Secondary intention When there are significant tissue losses and the wound surface cannot be brought together (e.g., lacerations, burns, and ulcers) Wound Healing.
    • In mastitis Mastitis Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue with or without infection. The most common form of mastitis is associated with lactation in the first few weeks after birth. Non-lactational mastitis includes periductal mastitis and idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM). Mastitis, women need to keep breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding/pumping (milk stasis worsens mastitis Mastitis Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue with or without infection. The most common form of mastitis is associated with lactation in the first few weeks after birth. Non-lactational mastitis includes periductal mastitis and idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM). Mastitis) in addition to taking antibiotics.

Postpartum psychiatric disorders Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders The postpartum (PP) period is a common time for the emergence or exacerbation of psychiatric disorders. Postpartum blues, PP depression, and PP psychosis are 3 of the most common psychiatric disorders experienced in the PP period. Although both genders are affected, PP is more common in women. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders:

Table: Summary of postpartum (PP) psychiatric diseases
PP blues PP blues Mild depressive symptoms that are transient and self-limiting in the perinatal period Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders PP depression PP depression Depression in postpartum women, usually within four weeks after giving birth (parturition). The degree of depression ranges from mild transient depression to neurotic or psychotic depressive disorders. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders PP psychosis PP psychosis A psychiatric manifestation with abrupt onset after delivery that is characterized by psychotic symptoms.Symptoms are similar to those of non-obstetric psychosis. The presenting symptoms are often severe, interfere with daily activities, and require hospitalization. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
Epidemiology 50%–80% of pregnancies 10%–25% of pregnancies < 1% of pregnancies
Common symptoms Guilt, crying, feeling of being overwhelmed Inability to cope, disinterest in self, disinterest in infant Visual or auditory hallucinations Hallucinations Subjectively experienced sensations in the absence of an appropriate stimulus, but which are regarded by the individual as real. They may be of organic origin or associated with mental disorders. Schizophrenia
Onset Birth to 2 weeks PP 2 weeks to 1 year after delivery Days to 1 year after delivery
Treatment Resolves spontaneously Psychotherapy Psychotherapy Psychotherapy is interpersonal treatment based on the understanding of psychological principles and mechanisms of mental disease. The treatment approach is often individualized, depending on the psychiatric condition(s) or circumstance. Psychotherapy, antidepressants Antipsychotics
Differential diagnoses
  • PP depression PP depression Depression in postpartum women, usually within four weeks after giving birth (parturition). The degree of depression ranges from mild transient depression to neurotic or psychotic depressive disorders. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • Major depressive disorder Major depressive disorder Major depressive disorder (MDD), commonly called depression, is a unipolar mood disorder characterized by persistent low mood and loss of interest in association with somatic symptoms for a duration of ≥ 2 weeks. Major depressive disorder has the highest lifetime prevalence among all psychiatric disorders. Major Depressive Disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder describes stress reactions displayed after an individual has experienced a traumatic event. Symptoms last more than 3 days but less than 1 month and include re-experiencing the event as flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event, irritability, hyperarousal, and poor memory and concentration. Acute Stress Disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • PP blues PP blues Mild depressive symptoms that are transient and self-limiting in the perinatal period Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • PP psychosis PP psychosis A psychiatric manifestation with abrupt onset after delivery that is characterized by psychotic symptoms.Symptoms are similar to those of non-obstetric psychosis. The presenting symptoms are often severe, interfere with daily activities, and require hospitalization. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • Major depressive disorder Major depressive disorder Major depressive disorder (MDD), commonly called depression, is a unipolar mood disorder characterized by persistent low mood and loss of interest in association with somatic symptoms for a duration of ≥ 2 weeks. Major depressive disorder has the highest lifetime prevalence among all psychiatric disorders. Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Bipolar Nervous System: Histology disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder describes stress reactions displayed after an individual has experienced a traumatic event. Symptoms last more than 3 days but less than 1 month and include re-experiencing the event as flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event, irritability, hyperarousal, and poor memory and concentration. Acute Stress Disorder
  • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism
  • Anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types
  • PP blues PP blues Mild depressive symptoms that are transient and self-limiting in the perinatal period Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • PP depression PP depression Depression in postpartum women, usually within four weeks after giving birth (parturition). The degree of depression ranges from mild transient depression to neurotic or psychotic depressive disorders. Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
  • Acute psychosis
  • Schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia
  • Delirium Delirium Delirium is a medical condition characterized by acute disturbances in attention and awareness. Symptoms may fluctuate during the course of a day and involve memory deficits and disorientation. Delirium
  • Bipolar Bipolar Nervous System: Histology disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder Acute stress disorder describes stress reactions displayed after an individual has experienced a traumatic event. Symptoms last more than 3 days but less than 1 month and include re-experiencing the event as flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event, irritability, hyperarousal, and poor memory and concentration. Acute Stress Disorder

Reproductive System

Uterine involution

  • Definition: return of the uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy to its normal prepregnancy size starting immediately after delivery of the fetus and continuing for the next 6–8 weeks 
  • Process: 
    • Contraction of the overlapping myometrial muscle fibers constricts blood flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure.
    • Myometrial retraction (a unique characteristic of the uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy) allows the muscle fibers to maintain shorter lengths following successive contractions.
    • Uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy goes from 1 kg immediately following delivery to approximately 60 g. 
    • Accelerated by oxytocin in breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding women
  • Symptoms:
    • Uterine cramping, which is normal 
    • Sometimes referred to as “afterpains”
    • Uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy should be generally nontender (or only mildly tender); significant tenderness presents a concern for infection (i.e., endometritis Endometritis Endometritis is an inflammation of the endometrium, the inner layer of the uterus. The most common subtype is postpartum endometritis, resulting from the ascension of normal vaginal flora to the previously aseptic uterus. Endometritis).
  • Delayed involution may occur due to:
    • A full bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess or loaded rectum Rectum The rectum and anal canal are the most terminal parts of the lower GI tract/large intestine that form a functional unit and control defecation. Fecal continence is maintained by several important anatomic structures including rectal folds, anal valves, the sling-like puborectalis muscle, and internal and external anal sphincters. Rectum and Anal Canal: Anatomy (delays immediate involution in the delivery room)
    • Uterine infection
    • Retained products of conception
    • Hematomas
  • Risks of delayed involution:
    • Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage
    • Infection

Lochia

  • Definition: the normal bleeding and vaginal discharge shed during the first few weeks postpartum
  • Stages:
    • Lochia rubra (red): the initial discharge, which is red and contains blood, endometrial tissue Endometrial tissue The mucous membrane lining of the uterine cavity that is hormonally responsive during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. The endometrium undergoes cyclic changes that characterize menstruation. After successful fertilization, it serves to sustain the developing embryo. Endometriosis, and mucus and typically lasts about 1–4 days
    • Lochia serosa (pink, yellow, or pale brown): follows lochia rubra and consists of mostly blood, mucus, and leukocytes Leukocytes White blood cells. These include granular leukocytes (basophils; eosinophils; and neutrophils) as well as non-granular leukocytes (lymphocytes and monocytes). White Myeloid Cells: Histology
    • Lochia alba (white): discharge contains mostly mucus
  • Normal postpartum bleeding patterns:
    • Lochia can last anywhere from 10 days to about 5 weeks postpartum.
    • Bleeding usually starts out heavier than a normal period and gradually lightens over time (though this is often somewhat irregular and different from the periods the woman is typically used to).
    • Bleeding may increase for about a day, typically 1–3  weeks after delivery, as the placental eschar is expelled.
  • Abnormal lochia: 
    • Prolonged or heavy red bleeding:
      • Bleeding should not exceed filling a pad in 1 hour for ≥ 2 hours in a row.
      • Consider retained products of conception, infection, and subinvolution of the uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy.
    • Foul-smelling discharge, especially in the setting of uterine tenderness, suggests infection.

Perineal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways

  • Perineal and vaginal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is common, and mild to moderate levels of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways can be “normal”: 
    • Should be appropriately treated with analgesics.
    • Typically due to lacerations, episiotomies, and/or edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
  • Other causes of perineal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways that require medical attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment include:
    • Hematomas
    • Dehiscence
    • Infection
  • The perineum Perineum The body region lying between the genital area and the anus on the surface of the trunk, and to the shallow compartment lying deep to this area that is inferior to the pelvic diaphragm. The surface area is between the vulva and the anus in the female, and between the scrotum and the anus in the male. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy should routinely be gently evaluated postpartum, typically with simple visual inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination, to rule out pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways due to complications.
  • Treatment:
    • Analgesics: 
      • Typically NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches and/or acetaminophen Acetaminophen Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter nonopioid analgesic and antipyretic medication and the most commonly used analgesic worldwide. Despite the widespread use of acetaminophen, its mechanism of action is not entirely understood. Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) are adequate.
      • For significant laceration Laceration Torn, ragged, mangled wounds. Blunt Chest Trauma repairs, narcotics may be appropriate.
    • Ice packs
    • Sitz baths: soak the perineum Perineum The body region lying between the genital area and the anus on the surface of the trunk, and to the shallow compartment lying deep to this area that is inferior to the pelvic diaphragm. The surface area is between the vulva and the anus in the female, and between the scrotum and the anus in the male. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy in comfortably hot water; may add some magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes chloride Chloride Inorganic compounds derived from hydrochloric acid that contain the Cl- ion. Electrolytes salts (epsom salts) → keeps the area clean and ↑ blood flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure for healing
    • Witch hazel pads
    • Ambulation to mobilize fluid and reduce edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
    • Treat any complications (e.g., antibiotics for infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease).

Contraception and resumption of ovulation Ovulation The discharge of an ovum from a rupturing follicle in the ovary. Menstrual Cycle

  • Although ovulation Ovulation The discharge of an ovum from a rupturing follicle in the ovary. Menstrual Cycle typically remains suppressed for several months while breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding due to ↑ prolactin Prolactin A lactogenic hormone secreted by the adenohypophysis. It is a polypeptide of approximately 23 kd. Besides its major action on lactation, in some species prolactin exerts effects on reproduction, maternal behavior, fat metabolism, immunomodulation and osmoregulation. Breasts: Anatomy levels, it can resume as early as 3 weeks postpartum.
  • Pelvic rest (“nothing in the vagina Vagina The vagina is the female genital canal, extending from the vulva externally to the cervix uteri internally. The structures have sexual, reproductive, and urinary functions and a rich blood supply, mainly arising from the internal iliac artery. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy”) is recommended for all patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship for at least 2 weeks postpartum, though some patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship do not wait this long before engaging in intercourse.
  • Contraception should be discussed with all patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship prior to leaving the hospital.
  • Barrier methods Barrier Methods Methods of contraception in which physical, chemical, or biological means are used to prevent the sperm from reaching the fertilizable ovum. Nonhormonal Contraception (e.g., condoms Condoms A sheath that is worn over the penis during sexual behavior in order to prevent pregnancy or spread of sexually transmitted disease. Nonhormonal Contraception) are effective and should be considered in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who wish to avoid hormonal contraception.
  • Progestin-only methods:
    • Preferred agents to prevent complications associated with estrogen Estrogen Compounds that interact with estrogen receptors in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of estradiol. Estrogens stimulate the female reproductive organs, and the development of secondary female sex characteristics. Estrogenic chemicals include natural, synthetic, steroidal, or non-steroidal compounds. Ovaries: Anatomy in the early postpartum period
    • “Mini-pill” is typically a low-dose norethindrone Norethindrone A synthetic progestational hormone with actions similar to those of progesterone but functioning as a more potent inhibitor of ovulation. It has weak estrogenic and androgenic properties. The hormone has been used in treating amenorrhea, functional uterine bleeding, endometriosis, and for contraception. Noncontraceptive Estrogen and Progestins pill commonly chosen by breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding women: 
      • Should be started 2 weeks postpartum
      • Not associated with changes in breast-milk production
      • Women should switch to a combined oral contraceptive Oral contraceptive Compounds, usually hormonal, taken orally in order to block ovulation and prevent the occurrence of pregnancy. The hormones are generally estrogen or progesterone or both. Benign Liver Tumors pill ( OCP OCP Compounds, usually hormonal, taken orally in order to block ovulation and prevent the occurrence of pregnancy. The hormones are generally estrogen or progesterone or both. Benign Liver Tumors) for better contraceptive efficacy once they stop breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding.
    • Other options include: 
      • Medroxyprogesterone acetate Medroxyprogesterone acetate A synthetic progestin that is derived from 17-hydroxyprogesterone. It is a long-acting contraceptive that is effective both orally or by intramuscular injection and has also been used to treat breast and endometrial neoplasms. Hormonal Contraceptives ( Depo-Provera Depo-Provera A synthetic progestin that is derived from 17-hydroxyprogesterone. It is a long-acting contraceptive that is effective both orally or by intramuscular injection and has also been used to treat breast and endometrial neoplasms. Hormonal Contraceptives) injections
      • Etonogestrel Etonogestrel Hormonal Contraceptives implantable rod (Nexplanon)
      • Intrauterine contraceptive devices ( IUDs IUDs Contraceptive devices placed high in the uterine fundus. Hormonal Contraceptives): higher risk of uterine perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis when inserted immediately postpartum
  • Estrogen Estrogen Compounds that interact with estrogen receptors in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of estradiol. Estrogens stimulate the female reproductive organs, and the development of secondary female sex characteristics. Estrogenic chemicals include natural, synthetic, steroidal, or non-steroidal compounds. Ovaries: Anatomy-containing methods (pills, patch Patch Nonpalpable lesion > 1 cm in diameter Generalized and Localized Rashes, vaginal ring Vaginal Ring Hormonal Contraceptives):
    • Can ↓ milk supply if started too early
    • ↑ Risk of DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis
    • Should be started 4 weeks postpartum
  • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who are at high risk for close-interval pregnancies can be offered Depo-Provera Depo-Provera A synthetic progestin that is derived from 17-hydroxyprogesterone. It is a long-acting contraceptive that is effective both orally or by intramuscular injection and has also been used to treat breast and endometrial neoplasms. Hormonal Contraceptives, Nexplanon, or IUD IUD Inhalant use disorder is a substance use disorder defined by pathologic consumption of inhalant substances (such as glue, paint, or lighter fluid) in order to reach a euphoric feeling. Individuals administer inhalers through the mouth (commonly known as huffing) or sniff them through the nose. The effect lasts for only several minutes. Inhalant Use Disorder insertion prior to leaving the hospital.

Urinary System

Overview of urinary system issues

  • Dilation of the ureters Ureters One of a pair of thick-walled tubes that transports urine from the kidney pelvis to the urinary bladder. Urinary Tract: Anatomy and renal pelves return to prepregnant state over 2–8 weeks after delivery. 
  • Despite edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema in the genitourinary tract, patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should be able to void spontaneously within 6 hours after a vaginal delivery or removal of an indwelling catheter Indwelling catheter Catheters designed to be left within an organ or passage for an extended period of time. Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Common complications include:
    • Postpartum urinary retention Urinary retention Inability to empty the urinary bladder with voiding (urination). Delirium
    • Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence (UI) is involuntary loss of bladder control or unintentional voiding, which represents a hygienic or social problem to the patient. Urinary incontinence is a symptom, a sign, and a disorder. The 5 types of UI include stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional. Urinary Incontinence
    • UTI UTI Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Postpartum urinary retention Urinary retention Inability to empty the urinary bladder with voiding (urination). Delirium

  • May be due to:
    • Bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess trauma related to prolonged labor Labor Labor is the normal physiologic process defined as uterine contractions resulting in dilatation and effacement of the cervix, which culminates in expulsion of the fetus and the products of conception. Normal and Abnormal Labor
    • Pudendal nerve Pudendal nerve A nerve which originates in the sacral spinal cord (s2 to s4) and innervates the perineum, the external genitalia, the external anal sphincter and the external urethral sphincter. It has three major branches: the perineal nerve, inferior anal nerves, and the dorsal nerve of penis or clitoris. Gluteal Region: Anatomy injury during birth
    • Bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess atony
    • Compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma of the urethra Urethra A tube that transports urine from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body in both the sexes. It also has a reproductive function in the male by providing a passage for sperm. Urinary Tract: Anatomy by edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
  • Diagnosis:
    • No spontaneous micturition within 6 hours after vaginal delivery or removal of an indwelling catheter Indwelling catheter Catheters designed to be left within an organ or passage for an extended period of time. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Elevated postvoid residual volumes (PVRs) of urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat within the bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess of > 150 mL (determined with catheterization or ultrasonography)
  • Risk factors:
  • Presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor: small voided volumes, slow stream, urinary frequency or urgency, bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence (UI) is involuntary loss of bladder control or unintentional voiding, which represents a hygienic or social problem to the patient. Urinary incontinence is a symptom, a sign, and a disorder. The 5 types of UI include stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional. Urinary Incontinence, sense of incomplete emptying, no urge to void
  • Management: 
    • Intermittent catheterization (e.g., every 4–6 hours) 
    • Typically self-limited; resolves within 1 week in most patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship

Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence Urinary incontinence (UI) is involuntary loss of bladder control or unintentional voiding, which represents a hygienic or social problem to the patient. Urinary incontinence is a symptom, a sign, and a disorder. The 5 types of UI include stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional. Urinary Incontinence

  • Common in the immediate postpartum period
  • May be urge incontinence Urge incontinence Involuntary discharge of urine that is associated with an abrupt and strong desire to void. It is usually related to the involuntary contractions of the detrusor muscle of the bladder (detrusor hyperreflexia or detrusor instability). Urinary Incontinence, stress incontinence Stress incontinence Involuntary discharge of urine as a result of physical activities that increase abdominal pressure on the urinary bladder without detrusor contraction or overdistended bladder. The subtypes are classified by the degree of leakage, descent and opening of the bladder neck and urethra without bladder contraction, and sphincter deficiency. Urinary Incontinence, or a mixture of the 2
  • Generally improves over weeks, though may persist long term
  • Due to injury of the nerves, fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis, and/or pelvic floor Pelvic floor Soft tissue formed mainly by the pelvic diaphragm, which is composed of the two levator ani and two coccygeus muscles. The pelvic diaphragm lies just below the pelvic aperture (outlet) and separates the pelvic cavity from the perineum. It extends between the pubic bone anteriorly and the coccyx posteriorly. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy musculature
  • Risks of long-term incontinence:
    • Vaginal delivery (over cesarean delivery Cesarean Delivery Cesarean delivery (CD) is the operative delivery of ≥ 1 infants through a surgical incision in the maternal abdomen and uterus. Cesarean deliveries may be indicated for a number of either maternal or fetal reasons, most commonly including fetal intolerance to labor, arrest of labor, a history of prior uterine surgery, fetal malpresentation, and placental abnormalities. Cesarean Delivery)
    • Operative vaginal delivery Operative Vaginal Delivery Operative vaginal delivery is the use of obstetric forceps or a vacuum extractor to effect delivery of a fetus. Complications during Childbirth, especially with forceps Forceps Surgical Instruments and Sutures
    • Increasing maternal age
    • Large-birth-weight infants

Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a wide spectrum of diseases, from self-limiting simple cystitis to severe pyelonephritis that can result in sepsis and death. Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by Escherichia coli, but may also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

  • Typically due to frequent or prolonged catheterization during labor Labor Labor is the normal physiologic process defined as uterine contractions resulting in dilatation and effacement of the cervix, which culminates in expulsion of the fetus and the products of conception. Normal and Abnormal Labor
  • Presents with dysuria Dysuria Painful urination. It is often associated with infections of the lower urinary tract. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), urgency, and/or increased urinary frequency
  • Diagnosed via urinalysis Urinalysis Examination of urine by chemical, physical, or microscopic means. Routine urinalysis usually includes performing chemical screening tests, determining specific gravity, observing any unusual color or odor, screening for bacteriuria, and examining the sediment microscopically. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children and/or urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat culture
  • Treatment is with antibiotics:
    • If patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding, take care to choose a safe antibiotic based on the infant’s age (e.g., nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim Trimethoprim The sulfonamides are a class of antimicrobial drugs inhibiting folic acid synthesize in pathogens. The prototypical drug in the class is sulfamethoxazole. Although not technically sulfonamides, trimethoprim, dapsone, and pyrimethamine are also important antimicrobial agents inhibiting folic acid synthesis. The agents are often combined with sulfonamides, resulting in a synergistic effect. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole Sulfamethoxazole A bacteriostatic antibacterial agent that interferes with folic acid synthesis in susceptible bacteria. Its broad spectrum of activity has been limited by the development of resistance. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim are generally avoided in the 1st month of life).
    • Monitor for signs of developing pyelonephritis Pyelonephritis Pyelonephritis is infection affecting the renal pelvis and the renal parenchyma. This condition arises mostly as a complication of bladder infection that ascends to the upper urinary tract. Pyelonephritis can be acute or chronic (which results from persistent or chronic infections). Typical acute symptoms are flank pain, fever, and nausea with vomiting. T Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess.

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems

Normal changes

  • Blood volume ↑ by 50% in pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care → returns to normal postpartum 
  • As the uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy involutes, blood that was contained within the uterine vessels is pushed back into circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment (a form of “autotransfusion”).
  • Fluid begins to mobilize several days postpartum → slight ↑ in BP as extracellular fluid Extracellular fluid The fluid of the body that is outside of cells. It is the external environment for the cells. Body Fluid Compartments moves into the intravascular space 
    • BP should still be within normal ranges.
    • Followed by ↑ diuresis (may be up to 3 L/day)
  • Preload Preload Cardiac Mechanics, as compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma of the inferior vena cava Inferior vena cava The venous trunk which receives blood from the lower extremities and from the pelvic and abdominal organs. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy is relieved by delivery of the infant

Thromboembolic disease

DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis and PE are important causes of peripartum morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status. Additionally, amniotic fluid embolism Amniotic Fluid Embolism Blocking of maternal circulation by amniotic fluid that is forced into uterine veins by strong uterine contraction near the end of pregnancy. It is characterized by the sudden onset of severe respiratory distress and hypotension that can lead to maternal death. Complications during Childbirth ( AFE AFE Blocking of maternal circulation by amniotic fluid that is forced into uterine veins by strong uterine contraction near the end of pregnancy. It is characterized by the sudden onset of severe respiratory distress and hypotension that can lead to maternal death. Complications during Childbirth) may present similarly to PE.

  • PE should be suspected in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with:
    • Sudden cardiopulmonary collapse
    • Acute-onset dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea
    • Pleuritic chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is one of the most common and challenging complaints that may present in an inpatient and outpatient setting. The differential diagnosis of chest pain is large and includes cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric etiologies. Chest Pain
    • Hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
    • Cough
    • Unilateral lower-extremity edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema (in cases of DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis)
    • Abnormal vital signs and oxygenation: ↓ O2, tachycardia Tachycardia Abnormally rapid heartbeat, usually with a heart rate above 100 beats per minute for adults. Tachycardia accompanied by disturbance in the cardiac depolarization (cardiac arrhythmia) is called tachyarrhythmia. Sepsis in Children, tachypnea Tachypnea Increased respiratory rate. Pulmonary Examination
  • Diagnosis:
    • Lower-extremity Doppler Doppler Ultrasonography applying the doppler effect, with frequency-shifted ultrasound reflections produced by moving targets (usually red blood cells) in the bloodstream along the ultrasound axis in direct proportion to the velocity of movement of the targets, to determine both direction and velocity of blood flow. Ultrasound (Sonography) ultrasonography to look for DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis
    • Chest CT to identify PE
    • D-dimer D-dimer Deep Vein Thrombosis is frequently elevated in pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care and the postpartum period, so is less helpful.
  • Management:
    • Support the ABCs ( airway Airway ABCDE Assessment, breathing, and circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment). 
    • Treat with anticoagulants Anticoagulants Anticoagulants are drugs that retard or interrupt the coagulation cascade. The primary classes of available anticoagulants include heparins, vitamin K-dependent antagonists (e.g., warfarin), direct thrombin inhibitors, and factor Xa inhibitors. Anticoagulants.
  • Prevention: 

Postpartum cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles (myocardium) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function in the absence of other heart disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular disease, and congenital heart disease). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types

  • Definition: 
    • The development of heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) toward the end of pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care (typically > 36 weeks) or within 5 months after delivery
    • Left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction Ejection fraction Cardiac Cycle < 45%
  • Etiology unclear
  • Clinical presentations:
    • Dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea (especially paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea A disorder characterized by sudden attacks of respiratory distress in at rest patients with heart failure and pulmonary edema. It usually occurs at night after several hours of sleep in a reclining position. Patients awaken with a feeling of suffocation, coughing, a cold sweat, and tachycardia. When there is significant wheezing, it is called cardiac asthma. Pulmonary Edema)
    • Cough and/or hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
    • Orthopnea Orthopnea Pulmonary Edema
    • Pedal edema Pedal Edema Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment: 
    • Similar to normal management of heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR)
    • Avoid ACEis ACEIs A class of drugs whose main indications are the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. They exert their hemodynamic effect mainly by inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system. They also modulate sympathetic nervous system activity and increase prostaglandin synthesis. They cause mainly vasodilation and mild natriuresis without affecting heart rate and contractility. Heart Failure and Angina Medication/ ARBs ARBs Agents that antagonize angiotensin receptors. Many drugs in this class specifically target the angiotensin type 1 receptor. Heart Failure and Angina Medication, which are contraindicated in pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care/ lactation Lactation The processes of milk secretion by the maternal mammary glands after parturition. The proliferation of the mammary glandular tissue, milk synthesis, and milk expulsion or let down are regulated by the interactions of several hormones including estradiol; progesterone; prolactin; and oxytocin. Breastfeeding.

Hypertensive disorders

  • BP should be monitored in all postpartum patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship.
  • Pre- eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders, eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders, and HELLP syndrome HELLP syndrome A severe form of preeclampsia with Hemolysis (with: LDH > 600 IU/L, ↑ Bilirubin, Schistocytes on blood smear, Anemia), ↑ Liver enzymes (with AST and/or AST > 2 times upper limit of normal), ↓ Platelet count, and thrombocytopenia (< 100,000). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders (hemolysis, elevated liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes, low platelets Platelets Platelets are small cell fragments involved in hemostasis. Thrombopoiesis takes place primarily in the bone marrow through a series of cell differentiation and is influenced by several cytokines. Platelets are formed after fragmentation of the megakaryocyte cytoplasm. Platelets: Histology in pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care) can all develop for the 1st time postpartum and are a leading cause of peripartum mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status.
    • May lead to stroke, coagulopathies Coagulopathies Hemothorax, and renal and liver failure Liver failure Severe inability of the liver to perform its normal metabolic functions, as evidenced by severe jaundice and abnormal serum levels of ammonia; bilirubin; alkaline phosphatase; aspartate aminotransferase; lactate dehydrogenases; and albumin/globulin ratio. Autoimmune Hepatitis
    • Key symptoms:
      • Headaches
      • Visual changes (especially scotomata)
      • Dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea
      • RUQ or epigastric pain Epigastric pain Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (Mallory-Weiss Tear)
    • Treated with:
  • Gestational hypertension Gestational hypertension A condition in pregnant women with elevated systolic (>140 mm hg) and diastolic (>90 mm hg) blood pressure on at least two occasions 6 h apart. Hypertension complicates 8-10% of all pregnancies, generally after 20 weeks of gestation. Gestational hypertension can be divided into several broad categories according to the complexity and associated symptoms, such as edema; proteinuria; seizures; abnormalities in blood coagulation and liver functions. Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders:
    • Should resolve within 12 weeks postpartum
    • If hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension persists → diagnosed with chronic hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension

Gastrointestinal System

Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation and/or hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are normal vascular cushions in the anal canal composed of dilated vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and connective tissue. They do not cause issues unless they are enlarged, inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. Patients often present with rectal bleeding of bright red blood, or they may have pain, perianal pruritus, or a palpable mass. Hemorrhoids

Both constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation and hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are normal vascular cushions in the anal canal composed of dilated vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and connective tissue. They do not cause issues unless they are enlarged, inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. Patients often present with rectal bleeding of bright red blood, or they may have pain, perianal pruritus, or a palpable mass. Hemorrhoids are extremely common in the immediate postpartum period.

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation is due to:
    • GI motility GI Motility The primary functions of the GI tract are digestion and absorption, which require coordinated contractions of the smooth muscles present in the GI tract. Peristaltic waves, segmentation contractions, and the migrating motor complex are all important contraction patterns that help to mix contents, get them in contact with the intestinal walls, and propel material down the tract at appropriate times and in appropriate amounts. Gastrointestinal Motility 
    • Perineal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways 
    • Loss of body fluids
  • Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are normal vascular cushions in the anal canal composed of dilated vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and connective tissue. They do not cause issues unless they are enlarged, inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. Patients often present with rectal bleeding of bright red blood, or they may have pain, perianal pruritus, or a palpable mass. Hemorrhoids develop due to:
    • ↑ Pressure in the anal vasculature during pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care due to presence of the fetus
    • Straining during delivery
  • Management: 
    • Oral hydration
    • ↑ Fiber (either in the diet or with bulk-forming laxatives Bulk-Forming Laxatives Laxatives such as psyllium)
    • Stool softeners
    • Topical steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors and/or witch hazel pads for hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are normal vascular cushions in the anal canal composed of dilated vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and connective tissue. They do not cause issues unless they are enlarged, inflamed, thrombosed, or prolapsed. Patients often present with rectal bleeding of bright red blood, or they may have pain, perianal pruritus, or a palpable mass. Hemorrhoids

Clostridioides difficile infection

Formerly known as Clostridium difficile Clostridium difficile A common inhabitant of the colon flora in human infants and sometimes in adults. The type species clostridioides difficile is formerly known as Clostridium difficile. It is a causative agent for clostridioides infections and is associated with pseudomembranous enterocolitis in patients receiving antibiotic therapy. Clostridia:

  • Colonization Colonization Bacteriology with C. difficile may occur after antibiotic therapy, which alters the normal gut flora Normal gut flora All of the microbial organisms that naturally exist within the gastrointestinal tract. Escherichia coli.
  • Findings typically include: 
    • Fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
    • Profuse diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain Abdominal Pain Acute Abdomen and distention
    • Hypovolemia Hypovolemia Sepsis in Children
    • Marked leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus
  • Can result in fulminant colitis Colitis Inflammation of the colon section of the large intestine, usually with symptoms such as diarrhea (often with blood and mucus), abdominal pain, and fever. Pseudomembranous Colitis
  • Management:
    • Contact precautions
    • Discontinue inciting antibiotics
    • Support fluid, nutrition, and electrolytes Electrolytes Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in water and dissociate into charged particles called ions, which can be either be positively (cations) or negatively (anions) charged. Electrolytes are distributed in the extracellular and intracellular compartments in different concentrations. Electrolytes are essential for various basic life-sustaining functions. Electrolytes due to GI losses
    • Oral (not IV) vancomycin Vancomycin Antibacterial obtained from streptomyces orientalis. It is a glycopeptide related to ristocetin that inhibits bacterial cell wall assembly and is toxic to kidneys and the inner ear. Glycopeptides or fidaxomicin

Endocrine System

Postpartum thyroiditis Thyroiditis Thyroiditis is a catchall term used to describe a variety of conditions that have inflammation of the thyroid gland in common. It includes pathologies that cause an acute illness with severe thyroid pain (e.g., subacute thyroiditis and infectious thyroiditis) as well as conditions in which there is no clinically evident inflammation and the manifestations primarily reflect thyroid dysfunction or a goiter (e.g., painless thyroiditis and fibrous Riedel’s thyroiditis). Thyroiditis

  • Definition: a destructive autoimmune disorder Autoimmune Disorder Septic Arthritis developing within the 1st year after delivery involving antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions against the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy 
    • A variant of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis Autoimmune thyroiditis Inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland due to autoimmune responses leading to lymphocytic infiltration of the gland. It is characterized by the presence of circulating thyroid antigen-specific T-cells and thyroid autoantibodies. The clinical signs can range from hypothyroidism to thyrotoxicosis depending on the type of autoimmune thyroiditis. Thyroiditis (i.e., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Thyroiditis Thyroiditis is a catchall term used to describe a variety of conditions that have inflammation of the thyroid gland in common. It includes pathologies that cause an acute illness with severe thyroid pain (e.g., subacute thyroiditis and infectious thyroiditis) as well as conditions in which there is no clinically evident inflammation and the manifestations primarily reflect thyroid dysfunction or a goiter (e.g., painless thyroiditis and fibrous Riedel’s thyroiditis). Thyroiditis)
    • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: approximately 8%
  • Presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor: 
    • Transient hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism alone: fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia, weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery, palpitations Palpitations Ebstein’s Anomaly, heat Heat Inflammation intolerance, anxiety Anxiety Feelings or emotions of dread, apprehension, and impending disaster but not disabling as with anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism alone: fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia, cold intolerance, constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation, dry skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions
    • Transient hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism
  • Natural history:
    • “Classic sequence”: hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism beginning 1–4 months postpartum and lasting 2–8 weeks → hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism lasting 2 weeks to 6 months → recovery   
    • Most women recover spontaneously within 1 year
    • Some women become permanently hypothyroid and/or develop a goiter Goiter A goiter is a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland due to nonneoplastic growth occurring in the setting of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or euthyroidism. Morphologically, thyroid enlargement can be diffuse (smooth consistency) or nodular (uninodular or multinodular). Goiter.
  • Diagnosis: thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy function testing
    • Thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy-stimulating hormone (TSH) and FT4 ( screening Screening Preoperative Care tests)
    • In hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism Hypersecretion of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate. Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism, also obtain:
      • Serum thyrotropin receptor Receptor Receptors are proteins located either on the surface of or within a cell that can bind to signaling molecules known as ligands (e.g., hormones) and cause some type of response within the cell. Receptors antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions 
      • Consider a radioiodine uptake scan (contraindicated in breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding women) to differentiate postpartum thyroiditis Thyroiditis Thyroiditis is a catchall term used to describe a variety of conditions that have inflammation of the thyroid gland in common. It includes pathologies that cause an acute illness with severe thyroid pain (e.g., subacute thyroiditis and infectious thyroiditis) as well as conditions in which there is no clinically evident inflammation and the manifestations primarily reflect thyroid dysfunction or a goiter (e.g., painless thyroiditis and fibrous Riedel’s thyroiditis). Thyroiditis from Graves’ disease Graves’ disease A common form of hyperthyroidism with a diffuse hyperplastic goiter. It is an autoimmune disorder that produces antibodies against the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor. These autoantibodies activate the TSH receptor, thereby stimulating the thyroid gland and hypersecretion of thyroid hormones. These autoantibodies can also affect the eyes (Graves ophthalmopathy) and the skin (Graves dermopathy). Thyrotoxicosis and Hyperthyroidism.
    • In hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism, also obtain: T3 concentrations
  • Management:
    • Careful observation with TSH/FT4 testing every 4–8 weeks; many patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship do not require treatment.
    • Symptomatic hyperthyroid patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship: propranolol Propranolol A widely used non-cardioselective beta-adrenergic antagonist. Propranolol has been used for myocardial infarction; arrhythmia; angina pectoris; hypertension; hyperthyroidism; migraine; pheochromocytoma; and anxiety but adverse effects instigate replacement by newer drugs. Antiadrenergic Drugs
    • Symptomatic hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism: levothyroxine Levothyroxine Thyroid Replacement Therapy

Hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism is a condition characterized by pituitary hormone deficiency. This condition primarily results from a disease of the pituitary gland, but it may arise from hypothalamic dysfunction. Pituitary tumors are one of the most common causes. The majority of cases affect the anterior pituitary lobe (adenohypophysis), which accounts for 80% of the gland. Hypopituitarism (Sheehan syndrome)

  • Definition: Sheehan syndrome is hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism Hypopituitarism is a condition characterized by pituitary hormone deficiency. This condition primarily results from a disease of the pituitary gland, but it may arise from hypothalamic dysfunction. Pituitary tumors are one of the most common causes. The majority of cases affect the anterior pituitary lobe (adenohypophysis), which accounts for 80% of the gland. Hypopituitarism (deficiency of pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types hormones Hormones Hormones are messenger molecules that are synthesized in one part of the body and move through the bloodstream to exert specific regulatory effects on another part of the body. Hormones play critical roles in coordinating cellular activities throughout the body in response to the constant changes in both the internal and external environments. Hormones: Overview and Types) in the postpartum patient due to ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage and infarction of the pituitary gland Pituitary gland The pituitary gland, also known as the hypophysis, is considered the “master endocrine gland” because it releases hormones that regulate the activity of multiple major endocrine organs in the body. The gland sits on the sella turcica, just below the hypothalamus, which is the primary regulator of the pituitary gland. Pituitary Gland: Anatomy during obstetric hemorrhage.
  • Presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor: pituitary Pituitary A small, unpaired gland situated in the sella turcica. It is connected to the hypothalamus by a short stalk which is called the infundibulum. Hormones: Overview and Types hormones Hormones Hormones are messenger molecules that are synthesized in one part of the body and move through the bloodstream to exert specific regulatory effects on another part of the body. Hormones play critical roles in coordinating cellular activities throughout the body in response to the constant changes in both the internal and external environments. Hormones: Overview and Types
    • Prolactin Prolactin A lactogenic hormone secreted by the adenohypophysis. It is a polypeptide of approximately 23 kd. Besides its major action on lactation, in some species prolactin exerts effects on reproduction, maternal behavior, fat metabolism, immunomodulation and osmoregulation. Breasts: Anatomy: difficulty with lactation Lactation The processes of milk secretion by the maternal mammary glands after parturition. The proliferation of the mammary glandular tissue, milk synthesis, and milk expulsion or let down are regulated by the interactions of several hormones including estradiol; progesterone; prolactin; and oxytocin. Breastfeeding and breastfeeding Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is often the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. During pregnancy, hormonal stimulation causes the number and size of mammary glands in the breast to significantly increase. After delivery, prolactin stimulates milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk expulsion through the lactiferous ducts, where it is sucked out through the nipple by the infant. Breastfeeding
    • ↓ Follicle-stimulating hormone ( FSH FSH A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis. Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates gametogenesis and the supporting cells such as the ovarian granulosa cells, the testicular sertoli cells, and leydig cells. Fsh consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity. Menstrual Cycle) and luteinizing hormone ( LH LH A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis. Luteinizing hormone regulates steroid production by the interstitial cells of the testis and the ovary. The preovulatory luteinizing hormone surge in females induces ovulation, and subsequent luteinization of the follicle. Luteinizing hormone consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity. Menstrual Cycle): amenorrhea Amenorrhea Absence of menstruation. Congenital Malformations of the Female Reproductive System
    • ↓ TSH: hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism
    • Adrenocorticotropic hormone Adrenocorticotropic hormone An anterior pituitary hormone that stimulates the adrenal cortex and its production of corticosteroids. Acth is a 39-amino acid polypeptide of which the n-terminal 24-amino acid segment is identical in all species and contains the adrenocorticotropic activity. Upon further tissue-specific processing, acth can yield alpha-msh and corticotropin-like intermediate lobe peptide (clip). Adrenal Hormones (ACTH): adrenal insufficiency Adrenal Insufficiency Conditions in which the production of adrenal corticosteroids falls below the requirement of the body. Adrenal insufficiency can be caused by defects in the adrenal glands, the pituitary gland, or the hypothalamus. Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison’s Disease
  • Management: hormone replacement therapy Hormone Replacement Therapy Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to treat symptoms associated with female menopause and in combination to suppress ovulation. Risks and side effects include uterine bleeding, predisposition to cancer, breast tenderness, hyperpigmentation, migraine headaches, hypertension, bloating, and mood changes. Noncontraceptive Estrogen and Progestins (e.g., corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis, levothyroxine Levothyroxine Thyroid Replacement Therapy, estrogen Estrogen Compounds that interact with estrogen receptors in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of estradiol. Estrogens stimulate the female reproductive organs, and the development of secondary female sex characteristics. Estrogenic chemicals include natural, synthetic, steroidal, or non-steroidal compounds. Ovaries: Anatomy)

Nervous System

Neuropathy Neuropathy Leprosy

  • Typically, mononeuropathies that develop during delivery
  • Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor: pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, weakness, and/or sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology abnormalities, typically in the lower extremities, depending on the affected nerve (see table below)
  • Risk factors:
    • Fetal macrosomia Fetal macrosomia A condition of fetal overgrowth leading to a large-for-gestational-age fetus. It is defined as birth weight greater than 4, 000 grams or above the 90th percentile for population and sex-specific growth curves. It is commonly seen in gestational diabetes; prolonged pregnancy; and pregnancies complicated by pre-existing diabetes mellitus. Wilms Tumor
    • Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology blockade (impairing recognition of discomfort)
    • Prolonged lithotomy/ 2nd stage of labor 2nd stage of labor The period of obstetric labor that is from the complete dilatation of the cervix uteri to the expulsion of the fetus. Normal and Abnormal Labor (i.e., pushing)
  • Treatment:
  • Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas: Most women recover spontaneously within days to months ( median Median After arranging the data from loWest to highest, the median is the middle value, separating the lower half from the upper half of the data set. Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion recovery time: 8 weeks).
Table: Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor of common postpartum neuropathies Neuropathies Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome
Affected nerve Mechanism of injury Symptoms
Femoral nerve Femoral Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints. Femoral Region and Hernias: Anatomy Prolonged pushing with extreme hip flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
  • Weakness in the quadriceps muscle
  • Adduction Adduction Examination of the Upper Limbs is spared.
  • Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology loss over the anterior and medial thigh Thigh The thigh is the region of the lower limb found between the hip and the knee joint. There is a single bone in the thigh called the femur, which is surrounded by large muscles grouped into 3 fascial compartments. Thigh: Anatomy
Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve Prolonged pushing with extreme hip flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
  • Lateral hip pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Numbness/ tingling Tingling Posterior Cord Syndrome in the upper outer thigh Thigh The thigh is the region of the lower limb found between the hip and the knee joint. There is a single bone in the thigh called the femur, which is surrounded by large muscles grouped into 3 fascial compartments. Thigh: Anatomy
Peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy Foot drop Foot Drop Leprosy
Obturator nerve Obturator Nerve A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to the lower extremity. The obturator nerve provides motor innervation to the adductor muscles of the thigh and cutaneous sensory innervation of the inner thigh. Thigh: Anatomy
  • Medial thigh Thigh The thigh is the region of the lower limb found between the hip and the knee joint. There is a single bone in the thigh called the femur, which is surrounded by large muscles grouped into 3 fascial compartments. Thigh: Anatomy pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Adductor weakness

Complications of neuraxial anesthesia Anesthesia A state characterized by loss of feeling or sensation. This depression of nerve function is usually the result of pharmacologic action and is induced to allow performance of surgery or other painful procedures. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts

  • Nerve injury Nerve Injury Surgical Complications
  • Back pain Back pain Back pain is a common complaint among the general population and is mostly self-limiting. Back pain can be classified as acute, subacute, or chronic depending on the duration of symptoms. The wide variety of potential etiologies include degenerative, mechanical, malignant, infectious, rheumatologic, and extraspinal causes. Back Pain
  • Postdural puncture headaches (positional headaches that are worse when upright, occurring within 6–72 hours after dural puncture) 
  • Urinary retention Urinary retention Inability to empty the urinary bladder with voiding (urination). Delirium
  • Transient neurologic symptoms: pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and/or dysesthesias in the buttocks and lower extremities
  • Spinal epidural hematoma Hematoma A collection of blood outside the blood vessels. Hematoma can be localized in an organ, space, or tissue. Intussusception
  • Infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease:
    • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
    • Spinal epidural abscess Epidural abscess Circumscribed collections of suppurative material occurring in the spinal or intracranial epidural space. The majority of epidural abscesses occur in the spinal canal and are associated with osteomyelitis of a vertebral body; analgesia, epidural; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include local and radicular pain, weakness, sensory loss, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Cranial epidural abscesses are usually associated with osteomyelitis of a cranial bone, sinusitis, or otitis media. Retropharyngeal Abscess

Stroke and seizure

  • Stroke:
    • Hemorrhagic strokes due to hypertensive emergency Hypertensive emergency A condition of markedly elevated blood pressure with diastolic pressure usually greater than 120 mm hg. Malignant hypertension is characterized by widespread vascular damage, papilledema, retinopathy, hypertensive encephalopathy, and renal dysfunction. Uncontrolled Hypertension related to pre- eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders/ eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders
    • Ischemic strokes due to thromboembolic disease
    • Present with focal neurologic findings
    • Management is similar to that for nonpregnant patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship.
  • Seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Due to eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders (see earlier section on Hypertensive disorders)
    • Treat with IV magnesium sulfate Magnesium Sulfate A small colorless crystal used as an anticonvulsant, a cathartic, and an electrolyte replenisher in the treatment of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. It causes direct inhibition of action potentials in myometrial muscle cells. Excitation and contraction are uncoupled, which decreases the frequency and force of contractions. Laxatives.
    • Can use IV benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines work on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor to produce inhibitory effects on the CNS. Benzodiazepines do not mimic GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans, but instead potentiate GABA activity. Benzodiazepines (typically, diazepam Diazepam A benzodiazepine with anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, sedative, muscle relaxant, and amnesic properties and a long duration of action. Its actions are mediated by enhancement of gamma-aminobutyric acid activity. Benzodiazepines) when seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures do not resolve with magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes
    • Control hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension.

Clinical Relevance and Discharge Counseling

Giving patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship appropriate anticipatory guidance about what to expect when they go home postpartum is critically important to help patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship identify serious complications early while avoiding unnecessary medical visits for normal processes.

Routine discharge counseling

Important topics to address include:

  • When to seek medical attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment
  • General restrictions
  • What to expect, especially in terms of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, bleeding, and returning to normal
  • Contraception counseling

When to seek medical attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment

Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should be instructed to seek medical attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment for:

  • Fevers > 38°C (100.4°F) 
  • Chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is one of the most common and challenging complaints that may present in an inpatient and outpatient setting. The differential diagnosis of chest pain is large and includes cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric etiologies. Chest Pain or shortness of breath Shortness of breath Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea: need to rule out PE, postpartum pre- eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders, and peripartum cardiomyopathy Peripartum cardiomyopathy Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Major signs/symptoms of pre- eclampsia Eclampsia Onset of hyperreflexia; seizures; or coma in a previously diagnosed pre-eclamptic patient (pre-eclampsia). Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders:
    • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
    • Visual changes
    • Shortness of breath Shortness of breath Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea
    • RUQ/ epigastric pain Epigastric pain Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (Mallory-Weiss Tear)
  • Increased vaginal bleeding (> 1 pad per hour for ≥ 2 hours in a row): should be assessed for postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the most common and deadly obstetric complications. Since 2017, postpartum hemorrhage has been defined as blood loss greater than 1,000 mL for both cesarean and vaginal deliveries, or excessive blood loss with signs of hemodynamic instability. Postpartum Hemorrhage
  • Worsening abdominal and/or pelvic pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways: need to rule out infection
  • Inability to void (concern for urinary retention Urinary retention Inability to empty the urinary bladder with voiding (urination). Delirium)
  • Severe nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics and/or vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
  • Depression symptoms, thoughts of self-harm Self-harm Psychiatric Assessment, and/or infant harm

General restrictions

Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should typically be advised to:

  • Avoid intercourse and/or anything in the vagina Vagina The vagina is the female genital canal, extending from the vulva externally to the cervix uteri internally. The structures have sexual, reproductive, and urinary functions and a rich blood supply, mainly arising from the internal iliac artery. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy (i.e., “pelvic rest”) to allow time for healing.
  • Avoid heavy lifting (anything that requires straining) until they are comfortable to do so.
  • Avoid driving until:
    • No longer taking narcotics
    • Comfortable with slamming on the brakes in an emergency
    • Typically 2–3 weeks

References

  1. Berens, P. (2021). Overview of the postpartum period: disorders and complications. In Barss, V.A. (Ed.) UpToDate. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-postpartum-period-disorders-and-complications 
  2. Berens, P. (2021). Overview of the postpartum period: Normal physiology and routine maternal care. In Barss, V.A. (Ed.) UpToDate. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-postpartum-period-normal-physiology-and-routine-maternal-care 
  3. Tsang, W., Lang, R. (2020). Peripartum cardiomyopathy: etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. In Yeon, S. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/peripartum-cardiomyopathy-etiology-clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis 
  4. Burman, K. D. (2019). Postpartum thyroiditis. In Mulder, J.E. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/postpartum-thyroiditis 
  5. Chauhan, G. (2020). Physiology, postpartum changes. In StatPearls. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://www.statpearls.com/articlelibrary/viewarticle/27550/ 
  6. Kansky, C. (2016). Normal and abnormal puerperium. Medscape. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/260187-overview#a2 
  7. Wong, A. (2019). Postpartum infections. Medscape. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/796892-overview

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