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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

Postpartum endometritis is an infection of the lining in the uterus.

Female Reproductive Organs
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Causes

It is caused by bacteria that may be in the mother before childbirth. Bacteria could also enter the body during childbirth.

Risk Factors

Things that may increase the risk for the pregnant person include:

  • Conditions such as diabetes or anemia
  • Immune system problems
  • Vaginal infection
  • Smoking
  • Lack of prenatal care
  • Things during delivery that could raise the risk of it include:

    • Cesarean section delivery
    • Postpartum hemorrhage
    • Being in labor for a long time
    • Membranes that are broken for a long time during labor
    • Devices put in the uterus before, during, or after birth
    • Newborn stool in amniotic fluid (meconium)
    • Placenta pieces stay in the mother after birth or get taken out by hand
    • Bacterial infection of the membranes and amniotic fluid (chorioamnionitis)

    Symptoms

    Symptoms may start 2 days to 6 weeks after giving birth. They include:

    • Fever and chills
    • Feeling bad or unwell
    • Belly pain and tenderness
    • Foul smell or blood coming from the vagina
    • Pain when passing urine

    Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is often based on symptoms and recent childbirth. Tests to look for the kind of bacteria causing the problem include:

    • Urine tests and cultures
    • Blood tests

    Treatment

    The goal of treatment is to get rid of the infection. This is done with antibiotics.

    Prevention

    Not all infections can be prevented. Medical care while pregnant may help lower the chance of some infections. Medicine may be given before a cesarean section to reduce the risk.

    RESOURCES

    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  http://www.acog.org 

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.familydoctor.org 

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada  http://sogc.org 

    References

    Endometritis (postpartum). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/condition/endometritis-postpartum . Accessed March 21, 2022.

    Martingano, D., Singh, S., et al. Azithromycin in the treatment of preterm prelabor rupture of membranes demonstrates a lower risk of chorioamnionitis and postpartum endometritis with an equivalent latency period compared with erythromycin antibiotic regimens. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol, 2020; 2093530.

    Postpartum endometritis. Patient UK website. Available at: http://patient.info/doctor/postpartum-endometritis. Accessed March 21, 2022.

    Taylor, M. and Pillarisetty, L.S. Endometritis. StatPearls, 2021. Available at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553124  . Accessed March 21, 2022.

    Revision Information