A postpartum infection or the puerperal infection is observed to infect when the bacteria enter the uterus or the surrounding areas after delivery, also known as cesarean section or c-section wound infection during the postpartum period.
The most common signs of c-section wound infections or postpartum infections include fever from 100.5ºF to 103ºF, wound sensitivity, redness with some swelling in the area of the lower abdominal accompanied with severe pain. Therefore, it is not a case of neglect but a call for action to prevent the increase of the complications caused by the infection.
To know more about the symptoms, risks, complications, and prevention tips to cure postpartum infections during the postpartum period, read on. We at Parenthood bliss have curated this article that includes anything and everything you must know including the risk factors of postpartum infections via obstetrics and gynecology specialists on brčanski forum.
What are the different types of postpartum infection?
As per sources, about 10 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are noticed in the United States as a result of postpartum infection. Therefore, the main reason behind this, as per the obstetrics and gynecology experts is the lack of proper sanitation.
The different types of infections are:
- Postpartum Endometritis – This is a uterine infection of the uterine lining
- Myometritis is an infection of the uterine muscle
- Parametritis is an infection of the areas around the uterus
Symptoms of postpartum endometritis
The symptoms of the urinary tract include:
- High fever, up to 100.4 F
- Pain in the abdomen or the pelvis due to the swollen uterus
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Pale skin appearance as a result of the volume blood loss
- Cold chills
- Discomfort or illness
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
Note – The symptoms may take a few days to appear and at times they might not even be noticeable up until you reach your house after the delivery. The best way is to keep an eye on the symptoms ( as mentioned above) if they are to occur in the postpartum period,
Cause and risk factors of the c-section wound infection
In postpartum women, urinary tract infections are caused by skin floras, like Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, and the other bacterias that enter the genital tract or the vagina post-delivery. This is because these bacterias, found in vaginal examinations, usually attract moist and warm environments. The uterus can become infected in a surgical patient or even (very rarely) in vaginal delivery when the amniotic sac becomes infected.
However, the good news is that it can be easily cured with the help of antiseptics and penicillins.
The risks involved generally depend on the method used when in labor. This means, 1 to 3 percent in a normal vaginal delivery, 5 to 15 percent in cesarean delivery, and about 15 to 20 percent in non-scheduled cesarean deliveries once the labor begins.
Listed below are the risk factors that can be caused due to these uterine infections:
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Numerous vaginal examinations during labor
- Monitoring fetus
- Prolonged labor
- A delay between the rupture of the amniotic sac and delivery
- Group B streptococcus bacteria in the vaginal tract
- Septic remains of the placenta after delivery
- Excessive bleeding post-delivery
How can a puerperal infection be diagnosed and what are the complications involved?
Postpartum infections can only be diagnosed via a doctor when they schedule a vaginal examination of the patients. This includes urine or a blood test to dissect any bacteria or by using a cotton swab to collect cultures of your uterus.
On the other hand, the complications are rather rare, however, if not treated on time, the development of the bacteria could infect and result in complications like:
- Abscess or pus
- Puerperal sepsis is a leading cause of maternal death in the world and can be caused by poor health or slow recovery from delivery.
- Peritonitis, which is an inflammation of the abdominal lining
- Pelvic thrombophlebitis or a blood clot present in the pelvic veins
- Pulmonary embolism or a condition where the blood clot blocks an artery present in the lungs
- Sepsis or a Septic shock in which the bacteria enters the bloodstream and cause inflammation
How can you treat puerperal infections?
On the brighter side, postpartum infections are being treated with oral antibiotics, prescribed by your doctors, such as clindamycin (Cleocin) or gentamicin (Gentasol). These antibiotics help prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause the infection.
Here are a few brownie points that will help you prevent the infections
The major reason behind these infections is the unsanitary health conditions that allow the entry and growth of these bacterias in the tissue.
Here’s how you can prevent the risk factors of postpartum infections post a cesarean delivery:
- Take an antiseptic shower before the surgery
- Avoid a razor and remove pubic hair with clippers
- Use chlorhexidine-alcohol
- Consuming spectrum antibiotics before surgery after consulting your doctor
Postpartum infections are common and with the help of antiseptics and proper treatment from the doctor, they can be prevented or cured completely. However, you must make sure to take proper care and maintain a healthy environment.
FAQs: Postpartum Infection: Symptoms, Risks, And Prevention
1) How do you know if you have a postpartum wound infection?
While most symptoms of uterine infections don’t even occur before you leave the hospital, you can also keep a close eye on the common symptoms of postpartum infections. These include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Loss of appetite
- Increase in the heart rate
- Swollen and extra tender uterus
For more, refer to the article above!
2) What is postpartum sepsis?
Maternal sepsis is a severe bacterial infection that infects the uterus of pregnant women during the postpartum days.
3) What does postpartum infection smell like?
It comes across as a stale, musty odor, generally resembling the menstrual discharge followed by lochia ( dark red in color) in the first 3 days post-delivery. You may also experience small blood clots, which is common, however, if they resemble larger than a plum, make sure to inform your healthcare provider.