Puerperal Infection – An Overview

Puerperal infection

This disease is also called child bed fever and is a serious form of septicemia. It occurs in women shortly after the birth of a baby, an abortion or a miscarriage. If it is not treated immediately, then it can result in life-threatening conditions. It is also known as puerperal sepsis or fever and the most common cause is a genital tract infection. This can result in parametritis, endometritis, femoral and pelvic thrombophlebitis. Puerperal infection occurs in around 6% of maternity patients. If treated immediately, then the prognosis is good. Read on to find out more about puerperal infection.

Causes of Puerperal Fever

Here are some of the causes of puerperal sepsis:

  • Microbes like streptococci, clostridium perfringens, bacteroidesfragilis, staphylococci and Escherichia coli cause puerperal fever.
  • Most of the microbes are present in the normal vaginal flora.

Predisposing Factors for Puerperal Fever

These microbes cause this infection due to the presence of one of the following factors:

  • Premature and prolonged rupture of the membranes
  • Traumatic or prolonged labor
  • Unsanitary or frequent vaginal examinations
  • Unsanitary delivery
  • Retained products of conception
  • Maternal conditions like debilitation due to malnutrition or anemia
  • Hemorrhage

These are some of the causes for puerperal fever.

Diagnosis of Puerperal Sepsis

Here is how puerperal fever is diagnosed:

  • A fever occurs within 48 hours of delivery.
  • Culture tests of the blood, lochia or the incisional exudate from an episiotomy or cesarean section are performed.
  • The culture is taken from the material collected from the vaginal cuff.
  • Signs of endometritis or peritonitis are apparent, an inflammation of the endometrium or the peritoneum.
  • The pelvic examination shows purulent discharge.
  • A culdoscopy shows a thickening of the pelvic adnexa.
  • Swollen, red abscesses on the ligaments lead to the rupture of the peritoneum.

These are some of the causes and diagnostic procedures for puerperal infection.

Discuss the possibility of this infection with your doctor then try to avoid these microbial infections by adopting sterile techniques for all procedures.

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