Types of Infections after Childbirth and their Symptoms

There are chances of getting infection after a recent childbirth, because your body has gone through labor and delivery and is still at a healing stage. No matter how you have given birth, you are likely to be affected by an infection and you need to be cautious for the first few weeks after delivery. Most women recover easily after childbirth, without any issues, but some may be prone to infection.

signs of infection after birth

Different types of infections after birth

Endometritis

This is the infection of the womb or endometrium and happens anytime between the first six weeks postpartum. This is caused by the bacteria entering the uterus. Women who had undergone a caesarean have an increased risk of developing endometritis. You are also prone to this infection, if you were in labor for long hours, had too many internal checkups during labor or had trouble in getting the placenta out.

Signs

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding which lasts longer than six weeks postpartum and can get heavier and accompanied by blood clots.
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Difficulty in urinating

Infected surgical incision

Women who had a c-section are prone to developing infection at the site of the surgical incision. Most of the times, your healthcare professionals take necessary measures such as giving antibiotics beforehand to avoid infection. Sometimes, there may be some fault with sterilization of surgical tools or poor hygiene on part of the mother. There maybe other issues such as poor diet or health conditions that lead to infection.

Symptoms

  • The infected area can be swollen and become red.
  • There can be smelly, pus discharge from the stitches.
  • Pain in the infected area
  • If the infection spreads, then you may have fever and body aches.

Mastitis

This is a common breast infection affecting nursing moms. This is caused due to blockage of milk ducts. If milk is retained in the breasts, it can dry in the nipple pores and become infected. In most cases, it goes away if you continue to breastfeed despite the discomfort.

Symptoms

  • Painful breasts
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen or hardened spot on the breast that can be hot and tender to touch
  • Sometimes, blood or pus discharge from the nipple

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

This is caused because of bacteria entering the bladder after childbirth. Occurs more if you had a catheter inserted or had epidural.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Difficulty in urinating or a burning sensation
  • Change in urine color or smell
  • Frequent urination or needling to urinate more at night time

Perineal infection

Women who had vaginal delivery are at risk of perineal infection, if they had a perineal cut during delivery. The area between the vagina and anus is the perinium. This may tear during the delivery, when the baby is passing through birth canal. Some perineal cuts can be small and heal by themselves. In some cases, the doctor stitches up the cut, if the tear is not minor. Sometimes, this site can get infected. Know how to avoid tearing during birth here.

Symptoms

  • Pain at infected site
  • Discharge from the surgical wound
  • Swelling and redness at the site
  • Smell from the wound

Sepsis

This is a serious infection affecting any part of the body after a recent childbirth. It is also known as puerperal infection. This happens when an infection, such as UTI, endometritis or mastitis becomes highly severe. Sepsis is mostly known to be caused due to a bacteria that causes sore throat. This is a complication that needs immediate medical attention.

Symptoms

  • High temperature or temperature falling down too low
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Chills
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Vaginal discharge, which can be smelly
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

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