Postpartum Complications

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The postpartum period is the duration from childbirth to 6 weeks after the birth. This is the time when the reproductive tract, as well as the supporting tissues, resume the pre-pregnant state ( 'involute' ). All the organs may not regain the pre-pregnant state, but most do.

Most women have an uneventful postpartum. Tiredness, hot flashes and sweating, and constipation are normal. Discomfort in the perineum is expected, especially in women who have had an episiotomy which may cause difficulty with sitting or walking.

A woman may also have a reduced interest in sex for up to 6 months after childbirth. All these symptoms are normal, a temporary reaction to childbirth.

But there are certain complications which may occur during pregnancy which may be quite serious.

Postpartum Complications

  • Postpartum Infections
  • Postpartum infection is infection of the genital tract at any time within 6 weeks after child-birth or abortion. Infection can occur in the episiotomy wound or any lacerations of the vagina, vulva or the cervix. Infection of the placental site can also occur from infection by bacteria traveling up from the vagina.

    This is commonly seen in cases of prolonged labour, after repeated vaginal examinations in unsterile conditions, intrauterine manipulations as in manual removal of placenta after retained placenta, rupture of membranes not adequately covered by antibiotics, and sometimes in cesarian sections. Read More ...

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  • Postpartum Hemorrhage
  • Postpartum haemorrhage is defined as excessive bleeding occurring at any time from the birth of the baby upto 6 weeks after delivery. The bleeding loss has to be greater than 500 ml of blood following vaginal delivery, or 1000 ml of blood following cesarean section to be labelled as postpartum hemorrhage. This amount is usually sufficient to affect the general condition of the woman.

    There are two clinical types of postpartum hemorrhage:

    . Read more about postpartum hemorrhage here ...

  • Breast Engorgement
  • Breast engorgement usually occurs on the 3rd or 4th day of the postpartum period when the milk production in the breasts rises. At this time, there is a 'let down' reflex in the pituitary glands in response to the suckling of the breast by the baby. This causes a sudden increase n the production of milk. The blood flow through the breasts also rise leading to engorgement. Read More ...

  • Breast Abscess
  • Breast abscess is caused by infection of the engorged glandular system of the breasts. Infection is usually caused by a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus. It enters the breast from an infected cracked nipple, either from the nasopharynx of an infected baby or more commonly, from the infected hands of nurses, midwives, doctors or the mother herself. Read More ...

  • Postpartum Depression (Blues)
  • Postpartum depression, also called 'postpartum blues', usually occurs within the first 3 - 4 months after delivery of the baby. Most women go through a period of anxiety and exhaustion after the childbirth. There may also be a slight depression. But in some women the depression may be severe enough to need medication. Read More ....

  • Sheehan's Syndrome
  • Sheehan's Syndrome, also known as Postpartum Hypopituitarism or Postpartum Pituitary Necrosis, is a condition in which hypopituitarism develops after severe bleeding ('Postpartum hemorrhage') during or immediately after childbirth . Read More ...

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