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Postpartum Fever

Postpartum 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 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 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. Postpartum Endometritis. Other common etiologies include surgical or perineal wound 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 and 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 the 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, other presenting symptoms depend on the etiology. The diagnosis is made based on the clinical history and presentation, with additional laboratory tests (such as cultures Cultures Klebsiella) to help confirm the diagnosis and guide management. Management of postpartum 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 typically involves antibiotics to treat infectious etiologies Infectious Etiologies High-Risk Headaches, and early intervention is important to prevent complications such as sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock.

Last updated: 9 Jun, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Postpartum 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 is defined as:

  • An oral temperature of ≥ 38℃ (≥ 100.4℉) on any 2 of the 1st 10 postpartum days, excluding the 1st 24 hours
  • An oral temperature of ≥ 38.7℃ (101.6℉) within the 1st 24 postpartum hours

The first 24 postpartum hours are different because low-grade 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 during this period is common and typically resolves spontaneously, especially after uncomplicated vaginal deliveries.

Clinically, it would be inappropriate to wait until a 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 is present for > 24 hours before acting; in almost all cases, patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should be evaluated in person with an appropriate diagnostic workup and treatment initiated immediately.

Epidemiology

  • Postpartum 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 is a complication that occurs in 5%–7% of postpartum women.
  • 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. Postpartum Endometritis (uterine infection) is the most common cause.
  • The majority of cases occur > 2 days after birth.
  • Higher incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in cesarean deliveries than in vaginal births

Risk factors

Most etiologies share common risk factors, which include:

  • History of 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 ( CD CD 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) or 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 (e.g., vacuum extraction)
  • Emergency CD CD 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
  • Prelabor rupture of membranes Prelabor Rupture of Membranes Prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM), previously known as premature rupture of membranes, refers to the rupture of the amniotic sac before the onset of labor. Prelabor rupture of membranes may occur in term or preterm pregnancies. Prelabor Rupture of Membranes ( PROM PROM Prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM), previously known as premature rupture of membranes, refers to the rupture of the amniotic sac before the onset of labor. Prelabor rupture of membranes may occur in term or preterm pregnancies. Prelabor Rupture of Membranes) or premature Premature Childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy (259 days from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, or 245 days after fertilization). Necrotizing Enterocolitis PROM PROM Prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM), previously known as premature rupture of membranes, refers to the rupture of the amniotic sac before the onset of labor. Prelabor rupture of membranes may occur in term or preterm pregnancies. Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)
  • Prolonged rupture of membranes
  • 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
  • Multiple or repeated vaginal examinations
  • Retained products of conception
  • Manual removal of the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity
  • Recent or untreated 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 at the time of delivery, for example:
    • Chorioamnionitis Chorioamnionitis Chorioamnionitis, commonly referred to as intraamniotic infection (IAI), is a common obstetric complication involving infection and inflammation of the fetal membranes, amniotic fluid, placenta, or the fetus itself. Chorioamnionitis is typically caused by a polymicrobial infection that ascends from the lower genitourinary tract. Chorioamnionitis
    • Bacteriuria Bacteriuria The presence of bacteria in the urine which is normally bacteria-free. These bacteria are from the urinary tract and are not contaminants of the surrounding tissues. Bacteriuria can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Significant bacteriuria is an indicator of urinary tract infection. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children
    • Bacterial vaginosis Bacterial vaginosis Polymicrobial, nonspecific vaginitis associated with positive cultures of gardnerella vaginalis and other anaerobic organisms and a decrease in lactobacilli. It remains unclear whether the initial pathogenic event is caused by the growth of anaerobes or a primary decrease in lactobacilli. Vulvovaginitis
    • STIs STIs Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that spread either by vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. Symptoms and signs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, dysuria, skin lesions (e.g., warts, ulcers) on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. Some infections can lead to infertility and chronic debilitating disease. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (e.g., Chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria. They lack a peptidoglycan layer and are best visualized using Giemsa stain. The family of Chlamydiaceae comprises 3 pathogens that can infect humans: Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci, and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Factors associated with poor wound healing Wound healing Wound healing is a physiological process involving tissue repair in response to injury. It involves a complex interaction of various cell types, cytokines, and inflammatory mediators. Wound healing stages include hemostasis, inflammation, granulation, and remodeling. Wound Healing:
    • Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus
    • 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 
    • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases
    • Obesity Obesity Obesity is a condition associated with excess body weight, specifically with the deposition of excessive adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a global epidemic. Major influences come from the western diet and sedentary lifestyles, but the exact mechanisms likely include a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity
    • Immunodeficiency Immunodeficiency Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome disorders (e.g., HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs
  • Unhygienic birth conditions

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Etiology

The most common etiologies of postpartum 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 are:

  • 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. Postpartum Endometritis
  • Infection of the surgical site or perineal lacerations
  • 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/breast abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease
  • Urinary tract Urinary tract The urinary tract is located in the abdomen and pelvis and consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. The structures permit the excretion of urine from the body. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. Urinary Tract: Anatomy infection ( 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)), especially 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
  • Respiratory causes:
    • 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
  • Thrombotic causes:
    • Septic pelvic thrombophlebitis 
    • 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
  • Complications of neuraxial anesthesia Neuraxial anesthesia Neuraxial anesthesia is commonly used for lower abdominal and lower extremity surgeries or for pain relief. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts (rare):
    • Bacterial or chemical 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 
    • Epidural abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease 
  • 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 infection 
  • 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 (a diagnosis of exclusion)

To remember the primary causes of postpartum 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, think of 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:

  • Wound*: surgical or perineal laceration Laceration Torn, ragged, mangled wounds. Blunt Chest Trauma wound infection
  • 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. Postpartum Endometritis
  • 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 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)
  • 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

* Also part of the 5 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 mnemonic to remember the causes of postoperative 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 in all surgical patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship.

Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of postpartum 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 is dependent on the etiology. 

  • 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, including 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. Postpartum Endometritis and wound/perineal 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, are typically caused by 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 and vaginal flora; therefore, 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:
    • Are polymicrobial
    • Contain both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology
  • 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 is caused by oral flora in the infant, often introduced via nipple Nipple The conic organs which usually give outlet to milk from the mammary glands. Examination of the Breast trauma that occurred during 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.
  • UTIs typically result when vaginal flora are introduced into 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 during 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 (more common with epidural use).
  • Postpartum 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 can develop into sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock if not treated early.
  • Bacteremia Bacteremia The presence of viable bacteria circulating in the blood. Fever, chills, tachycardia, and tachypnea are common acute manifestations of bacteremia. The majority of cases are seen in already hospitalized patients, most of whom have underlying diseases or procedures which render their bloodstreams susceptible to invasion. Glycopeptides → endothelial injury → inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, which can lead to:
    • Organ failure, including AKIs and ARDS ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
    • Hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension and septic shock Septic shock Sepsis associated with hypotension or hypoperfusion despite adequate fluid resuscitation. Perfusion abnormalities may include, but are not limited to lactic acidosis; oliguria; or acute alteration in mental status. Sepsis and Septic Shock
    • Death

Clinical Presentation

Clinical presentation of postpartum 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 depends on the underlying etiology, which will determine when the 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 develops and other associated symptoms.

Table: Clinical presentation of postpartum 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
Etiology Days postpartum Associated symptoms
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. Postpartum Endometritis 1–10
  • 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 with chills Chills The sudden sensation of being cold. It may be accompanied by shivering. Fever
  • Uterine tenderness on exam (typically significant)
  • 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 associated 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
  • Lower midline abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Vaginal bleeding
Wound and perineal 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 4–7
  • Erythematous, edematous tissue
  • Purulent exudate Exudate Exudates are fluids, cells, or other cellular substances that are slowly discharged from blood vessels usually from inflamed tissues. Pleural Effusion
  • Severe local pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways at the site of infection (abdominal or vaginal)
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Septic pelvic thrombophlebitis 3–5
  • Low-grade, intermittent 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 that does not resolve with medication
  • Pelvic pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Painful, swollen calf is possible.
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 7–21
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 0–1
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): 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 1–2
  • Dysuria Dysuria Painful urination. It is often associated with infections of the lower urinary tract. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Urinary urgency Urinary Urgency Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and frequency
  • Lower back and/or flank pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Suprapubic pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • 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
  • Note: 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 is typically absent if infection is confined to 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; 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 develops as 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 develops.
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 infection Varies
  • 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 (10–15 episodes/day)
  • Low-grade 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
  • Abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways/cramping
  • Recent antibiotic exposure
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 Varies
  • 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 that coincides with administration of a drug and disappears with discontinuation
  • Typically develops about 1 week after initiating the drug (though could be hours to months)
  • Rashes Rashes Rashes are a group of diseases that cause abnormal coloration and texture to the skin. The etiologies are numerous but can include irritation, allergens, infections, or inflammatory conditions. Rashes that present in only 1 area of the body are called localized rashes. Generalized rashes occur diffusely throughout the body. Generalized and Localized Rashes are possible.

Diagnosis

Postpartum 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 is frequently a clinical diagnosis based on the presentation and risk factors discussed above, with labs and imaging used to support/confirm the diagnosis.

History and exam

  • Ask questions to elicit information about risk factors and symptoms that may help rule in or out the etiologies discussed above.
  • Assess and monitor an individual’s vital signs (BP, temperature, respiratory rate Respiratory rate The number of times an organism breathes with the lungs (respiration) per unit time, usually per minute. Pulmonary Examination, and heart rate Heart rate The number of times the heart ventricles contract per unit of time, usually per minute. Cardiac Physiology) to immediately identify sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock if it is present or develops.
  • Assess 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 for:
    • Significant tenderness: suggests 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. Postpartum Endometritis
    • Abnormally bulky: suggests retained products of conception, which may be becoming infected
  • Assess perineal and/or surgical wounds. 
  • Check for abnormal vaginal discharge. 
  • Examine the breasts Breasts The breasts are found on the anterior thoracic wall and consist of mammary glands surrounded by connective tissue. The mammary glands are modified apocrine sweat glands that produce milk, which serves as nutrition for infants. Breasts are rudimentary and usually nonfunctioning in men. Breasts: Anatomy for signs of 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 or abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease.
  • Examine the chest/ lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy and legs for signs of infection and/or thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus.

Laboratory and imaging

Based on findings from the history and exam, lab and imaging studies may be appropriate to help support the diagnosis and guide treatment. These studies include:

  • CBC: 
    • Rising WBC counts and a “left shift” suggest infection.
    • Note: General leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus is common and normal in postpartum women with average WBC counts (10,000–16,000/µL).
  • 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
  • Cultures Cultures Klebsiella (with antibiotic sensitivity testing):
  • If sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock is suspected: inflammatory markers (e.g., lactate)
  • If retained products of conception are suspected: 
    • Pelvic ultrasonography
    • Note: Pelvic ultrasonography is generally not indicated in cases of routine 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. Postpartum Endometritis, as findings overlap with normal postpartum changes.
  • If thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus is suspected: 
    • Coagulation studies Coagulation studies Coagulation studies are a group of hematologic laboratory studies that reflect the function of blood vessels, platelets, and coagulation factors, which all interact with one another to achieve hemostasis. Coagulation studies are usually ordered to evaluate patients with bleeding or hypercoagulation disorders. Coagulation Studies
    • 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) imaging with ultrasound
  • If 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 is suspected: chest X-ray Chest X-ray X-ray visualization of the chest and organs of the thoracic cavity. It is not restricted to visualization of the lungs. Pulmonary Function Tests

Management and Prevention

Management of postpartum 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 depends on the cause. 

General supportive measures

  • Adequate rest, nutrition, and fluid intake 
  • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways control with analgesics
  • Regular Regular Insulin monitoring of symptoms 
  • Pay 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 to treatment effects on 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
    • Choose antibiotics that are safe in 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.
    • 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 can and should be safely continued in almost all cases.

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. Postpartum Endometritis

  • Treated with IV antibiotics until afebrile for 24–48 hours 
  • Preferred IV regimen: aminoglycoside (typically gentamicin Gentamicin Aminoglycosides) + clindamycin Clindamycin An antibacterial agent that is a semisynthetic analog of lincomycin. Lincosamides 
  • Alternative IV regimen: aminoglycoside + metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess 
  • Ampicillin Ampicillin Semi-synthetic derivative of penicillin that functions as an orally active broad-spectrum antibiotic. Penicillins should be added in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship colonized by group B Streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus ( GBS GBS An acute inflammatory autoimmune neuritis caused by t cell- mediated cellular immune response directed towards peripheral myelin. Demyelination occurs in peripheral nerves and nerve roots. The process is often preceded by a viral or bacterial infection, surgery, immunization, lymphoma, or exposure to toxins. Common clinical manifestations include progressive weakness, loss of sensation, and loss of deep tendon reflexes. Weakness of respiratory muscles and autonomic dysfunction may occur. Polyneuropathy).

Wound 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

  • Drainage, debridement Debridement The removal of foreign material and devitalized or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and irrigation
  • Administration of broad-spectrum Broad-Spectrum Fluoroquinolones antibiotics (often requires coverage for MRSA MRSA A strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is non-susceptible to the action of methicillin. The mechanism of resistance usually involves modification of normal or the presence of acquired penicillin binding proteins. Staphylococcus)
  • Keep wounds clean.
  • Vaginal cleansing with povidone– iodine Iodine A nonmetallic element of the halogen group that is represented by the atomic symbol I, atomic number 53, and atomic weight of 126. 90. It is a nutritionally essential element, especially important in thyroid hormone synthesis. In solution, it has anti-infective properties and is used topically. Thyroid Hormones in cases of infected perineal wounds
  • Fiber-rich diet to decrease straining with bowel movements (straining puts pressure on surgical sutures, causing pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and ↑ risk of dehiscence)

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

  • Penicillinase-resistant antibiotics such as cephalexin, dicloxacillin Dicloxacillin One of the penicillins which is resistant to penicillinase. Penicillins or cloxacillin, or clindamycin Clindamycin An antibacterial agent that is a semisynthetic analog of lincomycin. Lincosamides
  • Frequent and effective milk removal: 
    • Milk stasis ↑ infection, so milk needs to keep flowing.
    • Organisms came from infant’s oral flora, so infant is not at risk for infection → patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should continue 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
  • Ice packs to relieve inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation
  • Nipple Nipple The conic organs which usually give outlet to milk from the mammary glands. Examination of the Breast shields can be used during 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 to prevent nipple Nipple The conic organs which usually give outlet to milk from the mammary glands. Examination of the Breast cracking.

Urinary tract Urinary tract The urinary tract is located in the abdomen and pelvis and consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. The structures permit the excretion of urine from the body. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. Urinary Tract: Anatomy infection

  • Simple cystitis Cystitis Inflammation of the urinary bladder, either from bacterial or non-bacterial causes. Cystitis is usually associated with painful urination (dysuria), increased frequency, urgency, and suprapubic pain. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) (rarely 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) should be treated with oral antibiotics, typically with penicillins Penicillins Beta-lactam antibiotics contain a beta-lactam ring as a part of their chemical structure. Drugs in this class include penicillin G and V, penicillinase-sensitive and penicillinase-resistant penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and aztreonam. Penicillins.
  • The following should generally be avoided 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 mothers with infants < 1 month old:
    • Nitrofurantoin ( ↑ risk of hemolytic 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 in the infant)
    • Trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole A drug combination with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. It is effective in the treatment of many infections, including pneumocystis pneumonia in aids. Chronic Granulomatous Disease ( ↑ risk of kernicterus Kernicterus A term used pathologically to describe bilirubin staining of the basal ganglia; brain stem; and cerebellum and clinically to describe a syndrome associated with hyperbilirubinemia. Clinical features include athetosis, muscle spasticity or hypotonia, impaired vertical gaze, and deafness. Nonconjugated bilirubin enters the brain and acts as a neurotoxin, often in association with conditions that impair the blood-brain barrier (e.g., sepsis). This condition occurs primarily in neonates, but may rarely occur in adults. Hyperbilirubinemia of the Newborn)
  • In cases of 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, IV antibiotics are typically required.

Septic pelvic phlebitis Phlebitis Inflammation of a vein, often a vein in the leg. Phlebitis associated with a blood clot is called (thrombophlebitis). Glycopeptides

  • Administration of broad-spectrum Broad-Spectrum Fluoroquinolones antibiotics 
  • Ampicillin Ampicillin Semi-synthetic derivative of penicillin that functions as an orally active broad-spectrum antibiotic. Penicillins + gentamicin Gentamicin Aminoglycosides + clindamycin Clindamycin An antibacterial agent that is a semisynthetic analog of lincomycin. Lincosamides is a common regimen.
  • Administration of 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, often low-molecular-weight heparin (e.g., Lovenox Lovenox Low-molecular-weight fragment of heparin, having a 4-enopyranosuronate sodium structure at the non-reducing end of the chain. It is prepared by depolymerization of the benzylic ester of porcine mucosal heparin. Therapeutically, it is used as an antithrombotic agent. Anticoagulants)

Prevention

Postpartum 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 is often a preventable complication. The preventive measures to be taken are:

  • Aseptic technique should be used in all procedures, if possible, especially:
    • 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 catheterization
    • Neuraxial anesthesia Neuraxial anesthesia Neuraxial anesthesia is commonly used for lower abdominal and lower extremity surgeries or for pain relief. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts
    • Surgery ( 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)
  • Appropriate use of prophylactic antibiotics, for example:
    • Prior to 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 (typically cefazolin Cefazolin A semisynthetic cephalosporin analog with broad-spectrum antibiotic action due to inhibition of bacterial cell wall synthesis. It attains high serum levels and is excreted quickly via the urine. Cephalosporins +/– azithromycin Azithromycin A semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic structurally related to erythromycin. It has been used in the treatment of Mycobacterium avium intracellulare infections, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. Macrolides and Ketolides)
    • After manual extraction of the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity
  • Vaginal cleansing with a povidone– iodine Iodine A nonmetallic element of the halogen group that is represented by the atomic symbol I, atomic number 53, and atomic weight of 126. 90. It is a nutritionally essential element, especially important in thyroid hormone synthesis. In solution, it has anti-infective properties and is used topically. Thyroid Hormones solution in the operating room before CD CD 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 in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with ruptured membranes
  • Keep incisions clean.
  • Clean the vaginal area with water after using the restroom.
  • Regular Regular Insulin 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 and/or pumping to prevent milk stasis
  • Use of a nipple Nipple The conic organs which usually give outlet to milk from the mammary glands. Examination of the Breast shield to prevent cracks in the nipples

Complications and Prognosis

Complications

  • Sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock
  • Abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease formation 
  • Adhesions/ scar Scar Dermatologic Examination tissue formation (which may lead to future pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and/or fertility issues) 
  • 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 
  • 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

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

  • Early intervention results in complete recovery with no complications for the vast majority of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship
  • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should be monitored carefully, and aggressive treatment should be administered in cases of progression to sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock
  • Untreated postpartum 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 or late intervention increases the chances of severe complications.

References

  1. Pamela Berens. (2021). Overview of postpartum period: disorders and complications. UpToDate. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-postpartum-period-disorders-and-complications
  2. K. T. Chen. (2020). Postpartum endometritis. In Varss, V.A. (Ed.) UpToDate. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/postpartum-endometritis 
  3. Noreen Iftikhar, Carolyn Kay. (2021). What to do if you have a fever after pregnancy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/postpartum-fever#prevention
  4. Michael Moore. (2013). Postpartum fever. Medscape. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/804263
  5. Julie S. Moldenhauer. (2020). Postpartum care. MSD Manual Professional version. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/postpartum-care-and-associated-disorders/postpartum-care
  6. Andy W. Wong, Adam J. Rosh. (2019). Postpartum infections. Medscape. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/796892-overview

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