Causes of Fever During Postpartum Depression

Postpartum can bring with it many infections and problems that need to be assessed and treated. In addition to the physical changes during pregnancy and childbirth, the process might also leave you feeling exhausted and traumatized. The physiological process of a vaginal or caesarean delivery or breastfeeding brings about postpartum infections. It is important to discern the type of infection and treat it accordingly.

Postpartum Fever

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Postpartum Fever

Postpartum fever is one such condition that occurs as a consequence to a wide range of infections that can affect the new mother. Postpartum fever is when you have a temperature of above 38.0 °C, between the second and tenth day after delivery. This is generally accepted as a sign of infection that can be managed.

Postpartum Fever Causes

Postpartum fever can be caused by a localized bacterial infection that can occur after a vaginal delivery. The most common cause is endometritis, or the inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus. Other reasons include postsurgical wound infections, perineal cellulitis, mastitis, respiratory complications from anesthesia, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, retained products of conception, septic pelvic phlebitis, thyroiditis, and deep vein thrombosis. Most of the time, infections are common with C-section deliveries.

Since postpartum fever can be caused by several different conditions, certain other symptoms can be checked to determine the exact cause. For instance, uterine or breast tenderness could indicate mastitis, perineum tenderness can suggest a wound infection, pulmonary rales or wheezes can suggest a respiratory infections, and calf tenderness indicates deep vein thrombosis. Patients with septic pelvic thrombosis are very rare, but may have palpable pelvic veins characterized by tachycardia which is out of proportion to the fever.

Endometritis can be detected if there is any tenderness in the lower abdomen or on both sides of the abdomen and body temperature is above 38 degrees C. Foul smelling lochia can also be a sign of infection causing postpartum fever. Women with wound infections may have edema, erythema, tenderness, and discharge from the wound site or the episiotomy area. In women with mastitis, there could be engorgement of breasts, tenderness, and erythematous breasts. Tenderness in at the costovertebral angle with elevated temperature can be the reason for urinary tract infection.

If the specific source of the postpartum fever is identified, treatment can be administered specific to the condition. A complete physical examination that includes the pelvis and breasts is necessary to identify the source of the infection.

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