Definition | Causes | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention

Definition

The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. Postpartum endometritis is an infection of the endometrium after childbirth.

Female Reproductive Organs

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Causes

Postpartum endometritis is caused by bacteria. The bacteria may be present in the mother before childbirth or be introduced to the body during childbirth.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase the risk of postpartum endometritis include:

  • Cesarean section delivery
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Prolonged labor
  • Prolonged ruptured membranes
  • Intrauterine monitoring
  • Newborn stool in amniotic fluid (meconium)
  • Remaining pieces of the placenta
  • The placenta was manually removed

Risk factors in the mother that may increase the risk of postpartum endometritis include:

  • Bacterial infection of the membranes and amniotic fluid—chorioamnionitis
  • Presence of a specific bacteria in the vagina
  • Lack of proper prenatal care

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • General discomfort
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Foul smelling and/or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is often done based on symptoms and recent childbirth.

Bodily fluids may be tested to confirm the diagnosis or identify specific bacteria causing the infection. Tests may include:

  • Urine tests and cultures
  • Blood tests

Treatment

Postpartum endometritis is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics are usually given by IV.

Prevention

Taking antibiotics before a cesarean section may help prevent postpartum endometritis. Talk to your doctor about whether this is right for you.

Proper prenatal care throughout the entire pregnancy may also help reduce your risk.