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BY, MS. PRIYANKA
GOHIL,
M.Sc. (N), OBG,
P.hD. Scholar
Definition
“Puerperium is the period following
childbirth during which the body tissues,
specially the pelvic organs revert back
approximately to the prepregnant state both
anatomically and physiologically.”
The retrograssive changes are mostly
confined to the reproductive organs with the
exception of the mammary glands which in
fact show features of activity.
“ is the process whereby the
genital organs revert back approximately to
the state as they were before pregnancy.”
The woman is termed as a puerpera.
Duration
Puerperium begins as soon as the placenta is
expelled and lasts for approximately 6 weeks
when the uterus becomes regressed almost to
the non-pregnant size.
The period is arbitrarily divided into:-
a) Immediate - Within 24 hours
b) Early - Up to 7 days
c) Remote - Up to 6 weeks
Similar changes occur following abortion but takes a
shorter period for the involution to complete.
I. ANATOMICAL CONSIDERATION
Uterus:-
 Lower Uterine segment
 Cervix
II. PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATION
Muscles
Blood vessels
Endometrium
I. ANATOMICAL CONSIDERATION
UTERUS
Immediately following delivery, the uterus
becomes firm and retract with alternate
hardening and softening.
The uterus measures about 20 x 12 x 7.5 cm
(length, breadth and thickness) and weighs
about 1000 gm.
At the end of 6 weeks, its measurement is
almost similar to that to the non-pregnant
state and weighs about 60 gm.
The placental site contracts rapidly presenting a
raised surface with measures about 7.5 cm and
remains elevated even at 6 weeks when it
measures about 1.5 cm.
CERVIX
The cervix contracts slowly, the external os
admits two fingers for a few days but by the end
of first week, narrows down to admit the tip of a
finger only.
The contour of the cervix takes a longer time (6
weeks) to remain and the external os never
reverts back to the nulliparous state.
Normal puerperium
II. PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATION
The physiological process of involution is most
marked in the body of the uterus.
MUSCLES
There is marked hypertrophy and hyperplasia
of muscle fibres during pregnancy and the
individual muscle fibre enlarges to the extent of
10 times in length and 5 times in breadth.
During puerperium, the number of muscle
fibres is not decreased but there is substantial
reduction of the myomatrial cell size.
Withdrawal of the steroid hormones, estrogen
and progesterone, may lead to increase in the
activity of the uterine collagenase and the
release of proteolytic enzyme.
Autolysis of the protoplasm occurs by the
proteolytic enzyme with liberation of peptones
which enter the blood stream.
These are excreted through the kidneys as urea
and creatinine.
This explains the increased excretion of the
products in the puerperal urine.
The connective tissues also undergo the same
type of degeneration.
The conditions which favours involution are...
a. efficacy of the enzymatic action
b. relative anoxia induced by effective
contraction and retraction of the uterus.
BLOOD VESSELS
The changes of the blood vessels are pronounced
at the placental site.
The arteries are constricted by contraction of its
wall and thickening of the intima followed by
thrombosis.
During the first week, the arteries undergo
thrombosis, hyalinization and fibrinoid end
arteritis.
The veins are obliterated by thrombosis,
hyalinization and endophlebitis.
New blood vessels grow inside the thrombi.
ENDOMETRIUM
Following delivery, the major part of the
decidua is cast off with the expulsion of the
placenta and the membranes, more at the
placental site.
The endomatrium left behind varies in the
thickness from 2-3 mm.
The superficial part containing the degenerated
decidua, blood cellsvand bits of fetal
membranes becomes necrotic and is cast off in
the lochia.
Regeneration starts by 7th day.
It occurs from the epithelium of the uterine
gland mouths and interglandular stromal
cells.
Regeneration of the epithelium is completed
by 10th day and the entire endomatrium is
restored by the 16, except at the placental
site where it takes about 6 weeks.
CLINICAL ASSESSMENT OF INVOLUTION OF UTERUS
The rate of involution of the uterus can be
assessed clinically by noting the height of the
fundus of the uterus in relation to the symphysis
pubis.
The measurement should be taken carefully at a
fixed time every day, preferbly by the same
observer.
Bladder must be emptied before hand and
preferably the bowel too, as the full bladder and
the loaded bowel may arise the level of the
fundus of the uterus.
The uterus is to be centralized and with a
measuring tape, the fundal height is measured
above the symphysis pubis.
Following delivery, the fundus lies about 13.5
cm above the symphysis pubis.
During the first 24 hours, the level remains
constant, thereafter, there is a steady decrease
in hight by 1.25 cm in 24 hours, so that by the
end of second weeks the uterus becomes a
pelvic organ.
The rate of involution thereafter slows down
until by 6 weeks, the uterus becomes almost
normal in size.
The involution may be affected adversely and
is called subinvolution.
Sometimes the involution may be continued in
women who are lactating so that the uterus
may be smller in size- superinvolution.
The uterus however returns to normal size if
the lactation is withheld.
VAGINA
The distensible vagina, noticed soon after
birth takes a long time (4-8 weeks) to
involute.
It regains its tone but never to the virginal
state.
The mucosa remains delicate for the first few
weeks and submucous venous congestion
persists even longer.
It is the reason to withhold surgery on
puerperal vagina.
Rugae partially reappear at the third week but
never to the same degree as in prepregnant
state.
Hymen is lacerated and is represented by
nodular tags- the carunculate myrtiformes.
BROAD LIGAMENTS AND ROUND LIGAMENTS
Require considerable time to recover from the
stretching and laxation.
PELVIC FLOOR AND PELVIC FACIA
Take a long time to involute from the
stretching effect during parturition.
“It is the vaginal discharge for the first
fortnight during puerperim.”
The discharge originates from the uterine
body, cervix and vagina.
Odor and reaction
It has got a pecular offensive fishy smell.
Its reaction is akaline tending to become acid
towards the end.
Color
Depending upon the variation of the color of
the discharge it is names as:
1. Lochia Rubra (red) 1-4 days
2. Lochia Serosa (5-9 days) the color is
yellowish or pink or pale brownish
3. Lochia Alba (10-15 days ) pale white
Composition
1. Lochia Rubra consists of blood, shreds of fetal
membranes and decidua, vernix caseosa lanugo and
meconium.
2. Lochia Serosa consists of less RBC but more
leukocytes, wound exudate, mucus from thhe cervix
and microorganisms (anaerobic streptococci and
staphylococci). The presence of bacteria is not
pathognomonic unless associated with clinical signs of
sepsis.
3. Lochia Alba contains plenty of decidual cells
leukocytes, mucus, cholestrin crystals, fatty and
granular epithelial cells and microorganism.
Amount
The average amount of discharge for the first 5-6 days,
is estimated to be 250 ml.
Normal duration
The normal duration may extend up to 3 weeks.The red
lochia may persist for longer duration especially in
women who get up from the bed for the first time in
later period.
The discharge may be scanty, especially following
premature labours or may be excessive in twin delivery
or hydramnios.
Clinical importance
The character of the lochia discharge gives useful
information about the abnormal puerperal state.
The vulval pads are to be inspected daily to get
information:
Ordor
 If malordorous, indicates infection. Retained plug or
cotton piece inside the vagina should be kept in mind.
Amount
Scanty or absent- signifies infection or lochiometra.
If excessive-indicates infection
Color
 Persistence of red color beyond the normal limit
signifies subinvolution or retained bits of cenceptus.
Duration
Duration of the lochia alba beyond 3 weeks suggests
local genital lesion.
PULSE
For a few hours after normal delivery the pulse rate
is likely to be raised, which settles down to normal
durine the second day.
However, the pulse rate often rises with after-pain or
excitement.
TEMPERATURE
The temperature should not be above 37.2 ℃ within
the first 24 hours.
There may be slight reactionary rise following
delivery by 0.5 ℉but comes down to normal within
12 hours.
On the 3rd day there may be slight rise of temperature
due to breast engorgement which shpuld not last for
more than 24 hours.
However, genitourinary tract infection should be
excluded if there is rise of temperature.
URINARY TRACT
The bladder mucosa becomes edematous and often
shows evidence of submucous extravasation of blood.
The bladder capacity is increased.
The bladder may be overdistended without any desire
to pass urine.
The common urinary problems are: over distension,
incomplete emptying and presence of residual urine.
Urinary stasis is seen in more than 50 % of women.
The risk of urinary tract infection is therefore high.
Dilated ureters and renal pelves return to normal size
within 8 weeks.
There is pronounced diuresis on the second or third
day of the peurperium.
Only 'clean catch' sample of urine should be collected
and sent for examination, with lochia should be
avoided.
GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT
Increased thirst in early puerperium is due to
loss of fluid during labor, in the lochia diuresis
and perspiration.
Constipation is a common problem for the
following reasons:delayed GI motility, mild ileus
following delivery, together with perineal
discomfort.
Some women may have the problem of anal
incontinence.
WEIGHT LOSS
In addition to the weight loss (5-6 kg) as a
consequence of the expulsion of the fetus,
placenta, liqour and blood loss, a further loss of
about 2 kg (5 lb) occurs during puerperium
chiefly caused by diuresis.
This weight loss may continue up to 6 months
of delivery.
FLUID LOSS
There is a net fluid loss of at least 2 litres
during the first week and an addition 1.5 liters
during the next 5 weeks.
The amount of loss depends on the amount
retained during pregnancy, dehydration during
labour and blood loss during delivery.
The loss of salt and water are larger in women
with preeclampsia and eclampsia.
BLOOD VALUE
Immediately following delivery, there is slight
decrease of blood volume due to blood loss and
dehydration.
Blood volume returns to non-pregnant level by
the second week.
Cardiac output rises soon after delivery to
about 80 % above the pre-labor value but
slowly returns to normal within one week.
RBC Volume and hematocrit values returns to
normal by 8 weeks postpartum after the
hydremia disappears.
Leukocytosis to the extent of 25,000 per cumm
occurs following delivery probably in respone
to stress of labour.
Platelet count decreases soon after the
separation of the placenta but secondary
elevation occurs withincrease in platelet
adhesiveness between 4-10 days.
Fibrinogen level remains high up to the second
week of puerperium.
A hypercogulable state persists for 48 hours
postpartum and fibrinolytic activity is enhanced
in first 4 days.
The secondary increase in fibrinogen, factor VIII
and platelets in the first eek increases therisk
for thrombosis.
The increase in fibriolytic activity acts as a
protective mechanism.
MENSTRUATION AND OVULATION
The onset of the first menstrual period
following delivery is very variable and depends
on lactation.
If the woman does not breasdfeed her baby, the
menstruation returns by 6th week following
delivery in about 40 % and by 12th week in 80 %
of cases.
In non-lactating mothers ovulation may occur as
early as 4 weeks and in lactating mothers about
10 weeks after delivery.
A woman who is exclusively breastfeeding, the
contraceptive protection is about 90 % up to 6
months of postpartum.Thus, lactation provides a
natural method of contraceptio.
However, ovulation may precede the first
menstrual period in about one-third and it is
possible for the patient to become pregnant
before she menstrautes following her
confinement.
Non-lactating mother should use contraceptive
measures in 3rd postpartum week and the
lactating mother in 3rd postpartum month.
Normal puerperium
For the first two days following delivery, no further
anatomic changes in the breast occurs.
 The secretion from the breasts called colostrum
which starts during pregnancy becomes more
abundant during the period.
COMPOSITION OF THE COLOSTRUM
It is deep yellow serous fluid, alkaline in reaction.
It has got a higher specific gravity, a higher protein,
vitamin A, sodium and chloride content but has got
lower carbohydrate, fat and potassium than the
breast milk.
It contains antibody (IgA) produced locally.
Normal puerperium
MICROSCOICALLY
It conrains fat globules, colostrum corpuscles and
acinar epithelial cells.
The colostrum corpuscles are large polynuclear
leukocytes, oval or round in shape containing
numerous fat globules.
ADVANTAGES
 The antibodies (IgA, IgG, IgM) and hormonal
factors (lactoferrin) provides immunological
defence to the new born.
 It has laxative action on the baby because of
large fat globules.
Although lactation starts following delivery, the
preparation for effective lactation starts during
pregnancy.
The physiological basis of lactation is divided in to
four phases:
1. Mammogenesis -Preparation of breast
2. Lactogenesis -Synthesis and secretion from the
breast alveoli
3. Galactokinesis -Ejection of milk
4. Galactopoiesis -Maintenance of lactation
Mammogenesis
Pregnancy is associated with a remarkable growth
of both the ductal and lobualveolar system.
An intact nerve supply is not essential for the growth
of the mammary glands during pregnancy.
Lactogenesis
Though some secretory activity is evident
(colostrum) during pregnancy and accelerated
following delivery, milk secretion actually starts on
3rd or 4th postpartum day.
 Around this time, the breasts becomes engorged,
tense, tender and feel warm.
Inspite of a high prolactin level during pregnancy, milk
secretion is kept in abeyance.
Probably the steroids- estrogen and progesterone
circulating during pregnancy make the breast tissues
unresponsive to prolactin.
When the estrogen and progesterone are withdrawn
following delivery, prolactin begins its milk sectretory
activity in previously fully developed mammary glands.
Prolactin and glucocorticoids are the important
hormones in this stage.
The secretory activity is enhanced directly or indirectly
by also growth hormone, thyroxine and insulin.
For milk secretion to occur, nursing effort is not
essential.
Galactokinesis
Discharge of milk from the mammary glands
depends not only on the suction exerted by the baby
during suckling but also on the contractile
mechanism which expresses the milk from the alveoli
into the ducts.
Oxytocin is major galactokinesis hormone.
During suckling,a conditioned reflex is set up.
The ascending tackle impulses from the nipple and
areola pass via thoracic sensory (4,5 and 6) afferent
neural arc to the paraventricular and supraoptic
nuclei of the hyppthalamus to synthesize and
transport oxytocin to the posterior pitutary.
Oxytocin (efferent arc via blood), is liberated from the
posterior pitutary, produces contraction of the
myoepithelial cells of the alveoli and the ducts
containing the milk.
This is the “milk ejection” or “milk let down” reflex
whereby he milk is forced down into the ampulla of the
lactiferous ducts, where from it can be expressed by
the mother or sucked out by the baby.
Presence of the infant or infant's cry can induce let
down without suckling.
A sensation of rise of pressure in the breasts by milk
experienced by the mother at the beginning of sucking
is called “draught”.
This can be also produced by the injection of oxytocin
The milk ejection reflex is inhibited by factors such
as pain, breast engorgement or adverse psychic
condition.
The ejection reflex may be deficient for several days
following initiation of milk secretion and results in
breast engorgement.
Galactopoiesis
Prolactin appears to be the single most important
galactpoietic hormone.
For maintenance of effective and continuous
lactation, suckling is essential.
It is not only essential for the removal of milk from
the glands, but it also causes the release of prolactin.
Secreation is continuous process unless suppressed
by congestion or emotional disturbances.
Milk pressure reduces the rate of production and
hence periodic breastfeeding is neccessary to relieve
the pressure which in turn maintains the secreation.
Normal puerperium
MILK PRODUCTION
A healthy mother will produce about 500-800 ml of
milk a day to feed her infant.
This require about 700 Kcal/day for the mother,
which must be made up from diet or from her body
store.
For this purpose a store of about 5 kg of fat during
pregnancy is essential to make up any nutritional
deficit during lactation.
STIMULATION OF LACTATION
Mother is motivated as regard the benifits of
breastfeeding sincethe early pregnancy.
No prelacteal feeds (honey, water) are given to the
infant.
Following delivery important steps are:
1. To put the baby to the breast at 2-3 hours interval
from t first day.
2. Plenty of fluids to drink.
3. To avoid breast engorgement.
Early (1/2-1 hour) and exclusive breastfeeding in
correct position are encouraged.
INADEQUATE MILK PRODUCTION (Lactation Failure)
It may be due to infrequent suckling or due to
endogenous supression of prolactin (ergot
preparation, pyridoxin, diuretics or retained placental
bits)
Pain, anxiety and insecurity may be the hidden
reasons.
Unrestricted feeding at short interval (2-3 hours) is
helpful.
DRUGS TO IMPROVE MILK PRODUCTION (Galactogogues)
Metoclopramide (10 mg thrice daily) increases milk
volume (60-100%) by increasing prolactin levels.
Sulpuride (dopamine antagonist) has also been found
effective.
Intranasal oxytocin contracts myoepithelial cells and
causes milk let down.
LACTATION SUPPRESION
It may be needed for women who cannot breastfeed for
personal or medical reasons.
Lactation is suppressed when the baby is born dead or
dies in the neonatal period or if breastfeeding is
contraindicated.
Methods commonly used are:
1. To stop breastfeeding
2. To avoid pumping or milk expression
3. To wear breast support
4. Ice packs to prevent engagement
5. Analgesics (aspirin) to relieve pain
6. A tight compression bandage is applied for 2-3 days
MEDICAL METHODS OF SUPPRESION
With estrogen, androgen or bromocriptine is
not recommended.
The side effects of bromocriptine are:
hypotenaion, rebound secretion, seizures,
myocardial infarction and puerperal stroke.
Breast milk for premature infant is beneficial by
many ways (psychological, nutritional and
immunological).
Metabolic disturbances like azotemia,
hyperaminoacidemia and metabolic acidosis are
less with breast milk compared to formula.
It gives immunological protection to the
premature infant.
There are methods for collection (manual
expression or electric pumps), and milk
preservation
Principles in management
1. To restore the health of the mother.
2. To prevent infection.
3. To care of the breasts, including promotion
of breastfeeding.
4. To motivate the mother for contraception.
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Immediately following delivery, the patient should be
closely observed as outlined in the management of the
fourth stage of labour.
She may be given a drink of her choice or something
to eat, if she is hungry.
Emotional support is essential.
Usually the first feeling of mother is the sense of
happiness and relief, with the birth of a healthy baby.
The woman needs emotional support when she
suffers from postpartum blues or stress due to
newborn's prematurity, illness,congenital
malformation or death.
REST AND AMBULANCE
Early ambulation after delivery is beneficial.
After a good resting period, the patient becomes fresh
and can breastfeed the baby or moves out of bed to go
to the toilet. Early ambulation is encouraged.
Advantages:-
1. Provides a sense of well-being.
2. Bladder complications and constipation are less
3. Facilitates uterine drainage and hastens involution
4. Lessens puerperal venous thrombosis and embolism.
Following an uncomplicated delivery, climbing stairs,
lifting objects, daily household work, cooking may be
resumed.
HOSPITAL STAY
Early discharge from the hospital is an important
universal procedure.
If adequate supervision by trained health visitors is
provided, there is no harm in early discharge.
Most women are discharged fit and healthy after 2
days of spontaneous vaginal delivery with proper
education and instructions.
Early discharge may be done in few selected women.
Some need prolonged hopsitalization due to
morbidities. (infections of urinary tract, or the perineal
wound, pain, or breastfeeding problems).
DIET
The patient should be on normal diet of her choice.
If the patient is lactating, high calories, adequate
protein, fat, plenty of fluids, minerals and vitamins are
to be given.
However, in non-lactating mothers, a diet as in non-
pregnant is enough.
CARE OF THE BLADDER
The patient is encouraged to pass urine following
delivery as soon as convenient.
At times, the patient fails to pass the urine and causes
are:-
1. Unaccustomed position
2. Reflex pain from the perineal injuries.
This is common after a difficult labour or a forceps
delivery.
If the patient still fails to pass urine, catheterization
should be done.
Catheterization is also indicated in case of incomplete
emptying of the bladder evidenced by the presence of
residual urine of more than 60 ml.
Continuous drainage is kept until the bladder tone is
regained.
The underlying principle of the bladder care is to
ensure adequte drainage of urine so that infection and
cystitis are avoided.
CARE OF THE BOWEL
The problem of constipation is much less because of
early ambulation and liberalization of the dietary
intake.
A diet containing sufficient roughage and fluids is
enough to move the bowel.
If neccessary, mild laxative may given at bed time.
SLEEP
The patient is in need of rest,both physical and
mental.
So she should be protected against worries and undue.
Sleep is ensured providing adequate physical and
emotional support.
If there is any discomfort, such as after pains or
painful piles or engorged breasts, they should be
dealth with adequate analgesics. (Ibuprofen)
CARE OF THE VULVA & EPISIOTOMY WOUND
Shortly after delivery, the vulva and buttocks are
washed with soap water down over the anus and a
sterile pad is applied.
The patient should look after personal cleanliness of
the vulval region.
The perineal wound should be dressed with spirit and
antiseptic powder after each act of micturition and
defication or atleast twice a day.
The nurse should use sterilised gloves during dressing.
Cold (ice) sitz baths relieve pain.
When the perineal pain is persistant, a vaginal and
rectal examination is done to detect any hematoma,
wound gaping or infection.
For pain Ibuprofen is safe for nursing mothers.
CARE OF THE BREASTS
The nipple should be washed with sterile water before
each feeding.
It should be cleaned and kept dry after the feeding is
over.
A nursing brassiere provides comfortable support.
Nipple soreness is avoided by frequent short feedings
rather than the prolonged feeding, keeping the nipple
clear and dry.
Candida infection may be another cause.
Nipple confusion is the situation where the infant
accepts the artificial nipple but refuses the mother's
nipple.
This is avoided by making the mother's nipple more
protractile and not offering any supplemental fluids to
the infant.
MATERNAL-INFANT BONDING (Rooming-In)
It starts from the first few moments after birth.
This is manifested by fondling, kissing, cuddling and
gazing at the infant.
The baby should be kept in her bed or in a cot besides
her bed.
This not only establishes the mother-child telationship
but the mother is conversant with the art of baby care
so that she can take full care of the baby while at
home.
Baby friendly hospital initiative promotes parent-
infant-bonding, baby rooming with the mother and
breast feeding.
ASEPSIS AND ANTISEPTICS
Asepsis must be maintained especially during the first
week of puerperium.
Liberal use of local antiseptics, aseptic measures
during perineal wound dressing, use of clean bed linen
and clothings are positive steps.
Clean surroundings and limited number of visitors
could be of help in reducing nosocomial infection.
IMMUNIZATION
Administration of anti-D-gamma globulin to
unimmunized Rh-negative mother bearing Rh-positive
baby.
Women who are susceptible to rubella can be
vaccinated safely with attenuated rubella virus.
Mendatory postponement of pregnancy for at
least two months following vaccination can easily
be achieved.
The booster dose of tetanus toxoid should be given at
the time of discharge, if it is not given during
pregnancy.
After pain
It is the infrequent, spasmodic pain felt in the
lower abdomen after delivery for a variable
period of 2-4 days.
Presence of blood clots or bits of the after-
births lead to hypertonic contractions of the
uterus in an attempt to expell them out.
This is commonly met in primipara.
The pain may also be due to vigorous uterine
contractions especially in multipara.
The mechanism of pain is similar to cardiac
anginal pain induced by ischemia.
Both the types are excited during
breastfeeding.
The treatment induces massaging the uterus
with expulsion of the clot followed by
administration of analgesics (Ibuprofen) and
antispasmodics.
Pain on the perineum
Never forget to examine the pernium when
analgesic is given to relieve pain.
Early detection of vulvo-vaginal hematoma
can thus be made.
Sitz baths (hot or cold) can give additional
pain relief.
Correction of anemia
Majority of the women in the tropics remain in
an anemic state following delivery.
Supplimentary iron therapy (ferrous sulfate 200
mg) is to be given daily for a minimum period of
4-6 weks.
Hypertension is to be treated until it comes to a
normal limit.
The physician should be consulted if
proteinuria persists.
TO MAINTAIN A CHART
A progress chart is to be maintained noting the
following:-
Pulse, respiration and temperation recording
6 hourly or at least twice a day.
Measurement of the height of the uterus
above the symphysis pubis once a day in a
fixed time with prior evacuation of the
bladder and preferably the bowel too.
Charater of lochia
Urination and bowel movement.
Normal puerperium
POSTPARTUM EXERCISE
The objectives of postpartum execises are:-
To improve the muscle tone, which are
stretched during pregnancy and labour
especially the abdominal and perineal
muscles.
To educate about correct posture to be
attained when the patient is getting up from
her bed.
This also includes the correct principle of
lifting and working positions during day-to-
day activities.
Advantages gained thereby are
To minimize the risk of puerperal venous
thrombosis by promoting arterial circulation
and preventing venous stasis
To prevent backache
To prevent genital prolapse and stress
incontinence of urine.
Procedure
Initially, she is taught breathing exercise and
leg movements lying in bed.
Gradually, she is instructed to tone up the
abdominal and peineal muscles and to
correct the postural defects.
These can well be taught by a trained
physiotherapist.
The exercise should be continued for at least
3 months.
The common exercises prescribed are...
a. To tone up the pelvic floor muscles
 The patient is asked to contract pelvic muscles in a
manner to withhold the act of defecation or
urination and then to relax.
 The process is to be repeated as often as posible
each day.
b. To tone up the abdominal muscles
 The patient is to lie in dorsal position with the
knees bent and the feet flat on the bed.
 The abdominal muscles are cntracted and relaxed
alternately and the process is to be repeated
several times a day.
c. To tone up the back muscles
 The patient is to lie on her face with the arms by
her side.
 The head and the shoulders are slowly moved up
and down.
 The procedure is to be repeated 3-4 times day and
gradually increased each day.
 Physical activity should be resumed without delay.
 Sexual activity may be resumed (after 6 weeks)
when the perineum is comfortable and bleeding has
stopped.
 Some women may get “flaring response” of some
autoimmune disorders due rebound effect of the
immune supression during pregnancy.
CHECK-UP & ADVICE ON DISCHARGE
A thorough check-up of the mother and the
baby is mandatory prior to discharge of the
patient from the hospital.
Discharge certificate should have all the
important information as regard the mother
and baby.
Advices include
 Measures to improve her general health. Continuation
of supplimentary iron therapy.
 Postnatal exercises
 Procedures for a gradual return to day-to-day
activities
 Breastfeeding and care of the newborn
 Avoidance of intercourse for a reasonable period of 4-
6 weeks until lacerations or episiotomy wound are
well healed.
 Family planning advice and guidance- Non lactating
woman should practice some form of contraceptive
measures after 3 weeks and the lactating women
should start 3 months after delivery
The method of contraception will depend upon
breastfeeding status, state of health and number
of children.
Natural methods cannot be used until mentrual
cycles are regular.
Exclusive breastfeeding provides 98%
contraceptive protection for 6 months.
Barrier methods m used.
Steroid contraceptions- combined preparations
are suitable for non-lactating women and should
be started 3 weeks after.
In lactating women it is avoided due to its
suppressive effects.
Progestin only pill may be better choice for
them.
Other progestins (DMPA, Levonorgestrel
implants) may be used.
IUDs are also a satisfactory method irrespective
of breastfeeding status.
Sterilization (puerperal) is suitable for those
who have completed their families.
Postnatal care includes systematic
examination of the mother and the baby and
appropriate advise given to the mother during
postpartum period.
The first postnatal examination is done and
the advise is given on discharge of the patient
from the hospital.
The second routine postnatal care is
conducted at the end of 6th week postpartum.
Aims and objectives
To assess the health status of the mother.
Medical disorders like diabetes, hypertension
should be reassessed.
To detect and treat at the earliest any
gynecological condition arising out of obstetric
legacy.
To note the progress of the baby including the
immunization schedule for the infant.
To impart family planning guidance.
Procedure
Advice given to the mother
Examination of the mother
Examination of the baby and advice
Examination of the mother
Routine examination includes recording weight, pallor,
blood pressure and tone of the abdominal muscles and
examination of the breasts.
Pelvic examination should be done only when indicated.
The following should be noted:
A cervical smear may be taken for exfoliative cytological
examination if this h not been done previously and
insertion of intrauterine contraceptive device may be
done when desired.
Laboratory investigations depends on the clinical need
may be advised.
Examination of the baby
This should be conducted by a pediatrician.
In this respect, an attached well baby clinic to the
postpartum unit is an ansolute necessity.
The progress of the baby is evaluated and
preventive or curative steps are to be taken.
Immunization to the baby is started.
Advice given
General:
If the patient is in sound health she is allowed to do
her usual duties.
Postpartum excercise may be continued for another
4-6 weeks.
To evaluate the progress of the baby periodically
and to continue breastfeeding for 6 months.
Family planning counseling and guidance
Management of ailments
Additional investigation and appropriate
therapy is given according to the
abnormalities detected during check up.
Management of some common gynecological
problems are given below. Some women need
psychological support also.
Irregular vaginal bleeding
It is not uncommon to encounter irregular or at
times, heavy bleeding after 4-6 weeks following
an uneventfull period after delivery.
This is usually the first period especially in non-
lactating women and simple assurance is enough.
Persistence of bleeding dating back from
childbirth is likely due to retained bits of
conceptus and usually requires ultrasound
examination followed by dilated and curettage
operation.
Leukorrhea
Profuse white discharge might be due to ill health,
vaginis, cervicitis or subinvoltution.
Improvement of the general health and specific therapy
cure the condition.
Cervical ectopy (erosion)
 Cervical ectopy (erosion) met during this period
without any symptom should not be treated surgically.
Hormone induced ectopy during pregnancy takes a
longer time (about 12 weeks) to regress.
Thus, asymptomatic ectopy should be examined again
after 6 weeks and if it still persists, cauterization is to be
considered.
Backache
It is mostly due to sacroiliac or lumbosacral
strain.
Bachache situated over the sacrum is likely due
to pelvic pathology, but if it is over the lumbar
region, it might be due to an orthopedic
condition and is often relieved by physiotherapy.
Retroversion seldom proceduced backache.
If associated with subinvolution with symptoms,
a pessary is inserted after correcting the position
and is to be kept about 2 months.
Slight degree of uterine descent with cystole,
stress incontinence and relaxed perimium are the
common findings at this stage.
These can be cured by effective pelvic floor
exercise.
However, if the prolapse is marked, effective
surgery should be done after three months.
Normal puerperium

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Normal puerperium

  • 1. BY, MS. PRIYANKA GOHIL, M.Sc. (N), OBG, P.hD. Scholar
  • 2. Definition “Puerperium is the period following childbirth during which the body tissues, specially the pelvic organs revert back approximately to the prepregnant state both anatomically and physiologically.”
  • 3. The retrograssive changes are mostly confined to the reproductive organs with the exception of the mammary glands which in fact show features of activity. “ is the process whereby the genital organs revert back approximately to the state as they were before pregnancy.” The woman is termed as a puerpera.
  • 4. Duration Puerperium begins as soon as the placenta is expelled and lasts for approximately 6 weeks when the uterus becomes regressed almost to the non-pregnant size. The period is arbitrarily divided into:- a) Immediate - Within 24 hours b) Early - Up to 7 days c) Remote - Up to 6 weeks Similar changes occur following abortion but takes a shorter period for the involution to complete.
  • 5. I. ANATOMICAL CONSIDERATION Uterus:-  Lower Uterine segment  Cervix II. PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATION Muscles Blood vessels Endometrium
  • 6. I. ANATOMICAL CONSIDERATION UTERUS Immediately following delivery, the uterus becomes firm and retract with alternate hardening and softening. The uterus measures about 20 x 12 x 7.5 cm (length, breadth and thickness) and weighs about 1000 gm. At the end of 6 weeks, its measurement is almost similar to that to the non-pregnant state and weighs about 60 gm.
  • 7. The placental site contracts rapidly presenting a raised surface with measures about 7.5 cm and remains elevated even at 6 weeks when it measures about 1.5 cm. CERVIX The cervix contracts slowly, the external os admits two fingers for a few days but by the end of first week, narrows down to admit the tip of a finger only. The contour of the cervix takes a longer time (6 weeks) to remain and the external os never reverts back to the nulliparous state.
  • 9. II. PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATION The physiological process of involution is most marked in the body of the uterus. MUSCLES There is marked hypertrophy and hyperplasia of muscle fibres during pregnancy and the individual muscle fibre enlarges to the extent of 10 times in length and 5 times in breadth. During puerperium, the number of muscle fibres is not decreased but there is substantial reduction of the myomatrial cell size.
  • 10. Withdrawal of the steroid hormones, estrogen and progesterone, may lead to increase in the activity of the uterine collagenase and the release of proteolytic enzyme. Autolysis of the protoplasm occurs by the proteolytic enzyme with liberation of peptones which enter the blood stream. These are excreted through the kidneys as urea and creatinine. This explains the increased excretion of the products in the puerperal urine.
  • 11. The connective tissues also undergo the same type of degeneration. The conditions which favours involution are... a. efficacy of the enzymatic action b. relative anoxia induced by effective contraction and retraction of the uterus.
  • 12. BLOOD VESSELS The changes of the blood vessels are pronounced at the placental site. The arteries are constricted by contraction of its wall and thickening of the intima followed by thrombosis. During the first week, the arteries undergo thrombosis, hyalinization and fibrinoid end arteritis. The veins are obliterated by thrombosis, hyalinization and endophlebitis. New blood vessels grow inside the thrombi.
  • 13. ENDOMETRIUM Following delivery, the major part of the decidua is cast off with the expulsion of the placenta and the membranes, more at the placental site. The endomatrium left behind varies in the thickness from 2-3 mm. The superficial part containing the degenerated decidua, blood cellsvand bits of fetal membranes becomes necrotic and is cast off in the lochia.
  • 14. Regeneration starts by 7th day. It occurs from the epithelium of the uterine gland mouths and interglandular stromal cells. Regeneration of the epithelium is completed by 10th day and the entire endomatrium is restored by the 16, except at the placental site where it takes about 6 weeks.
  • 15. CLINICAL ASSESSMENT OF INVOLUTION OF UTERUS The rate of involution of the uterus can be assessed clinically by noting the height of the fundus of the uterus in relation to the symphysis pubis. The measurement should be taken carefully at a fixed time every day, preferbly by the same observer. Bladder must be emptied before hand and preferably the bowel too, as the full bladder and the loaded bowel may arise the level of the fundus of the uterus.
  • 16. The uterus is to be centralized and with a measuring tape, the fundal height is measured above the symphysis pubis. Following delivery, the fundus lies about 13.5 cm above the symphysis pubis. During the first 24 hours, the level remains constant, thereafter, there is a steady decrease in hight by 1.25 cm in 24 hours, so that by the end of second weeks the uterus becomes a pelvic organ.
  • 17. The rate of involution thereafter slows down until by 6 weeks, the uterus becomes almost normal in size. The involution may be affected adversely and is called subinvolution. Sometimes the involution may be continued in women who are lactating so that the uterus may be smller in size- superinvolution. The uterus however returns to normal size if the lactation is withheld.
  • 18. VAGINA The distensible vagina, noticed soon after birth takes a long time (4-8 weeks) to involute. It regains its tone but never to the virginal state. The mucosa remains delicate for the first few weeks and submucous venous congestion persists even longer. It is the reason to withhold surgery on puerperal vagina.
  • 19. Rugae partially reappear at the third week but never to the same degree as in prepregnant state. Hymen is lacerated and is represented by nodular tags- the carunculate myrtiformes. BROAD LIGAMENTS AND ROUND LIGAMENTS Require considerable time to recover from the stretching and laxation. PELVIC FLOOR AND PELVIC FACIA Take a long time to involute from the stretching effect during parturition.
  • 20. “It is the vaginal discharge for the first fortnight during puerperim.” The discharge originates from the uterine body, cervix and vagina. Odor and reaction It has got a pecular offensive fishy smell. Its reaction is akaline tending to become acid towards the end.
  • 21. Color Depending upon the variation of the color of the discharge it is names as: 1. Lochia Rubra (red) 1-4 days 2. Lochia Serosa (5-9 days) the color is yellowish or pink or pale brownish 3. Lochia Alba (10-15 days ) pale white
  • 22. Composition 1. Lochia Rubra consists of blood, shreds of fetal membranes and decidua, vernix caseosa lanugo and meconium. 2. Lochia Serosa consists of less RBC but more leukocytes, wound exudate, mucus from thhe cervix and microorganisms (anaerobic streptococci and staphylococci). The presence of bacteria is not pathognomonic unless associated with clinical signs of sepsis. 3. Lochia Alba contains plenty of decidual cells leukocytes, mucus, cholestrin crystals, fatty and granular epithelial cells and microorganism.
  • 23. Amount The average amount of discharge for the first 5-6 days, is estimated to be 250 ml. Normal duration The normal duration may extend up to 3 weeks.The red lochia may persist for longer duration especially in women who get up from the bed for the first time in later period. The discharge may be scanty, especially following premature labours or may be excessive in twin delivery or hydramnios.
  • 24. Clinical importance The character of the lochia discharge gives useful information about the abnormal puerperal state. The vulval pads are to be inspected daily to get information: Ordor  If malordorous, indicates infection. Retained plug or cotton piece inside the vagina should be kept in mind. Amount Scanty or absent- signifies infection or lochiometra. If excessive-indicates infection
  • 25. Color  Persistence of red color beyond the normal limit signifies subinvolution or retained bits of cenceptus. Duration Duration of the lochia alba beyond 3 weeks suggests local genital lesion.
  • 26. PULSE For a few hours after normal delivery the pulse rate is likely to be raised, which settles down to normal durine the second day. However, the pulse rate often rises with after-pain or excitement. TEMPERATURE The temperature should not be above 37.2 ℃ within the first 24 hours. There may be slight reactionary rise following delivery by 0.5 ℉but comes down to normal within 12 hours.
  • 27. On the 3rd day there may be slight rise of temperature due to breast engorgement which shpuld not last for more than 24 hours. However, genitourinary tract infection should be excluded if there is rise of temperature. URINARY TRACT The bladder mucosa becomes edematous and often shows evidence of submucous extravasation of blood. The bladder capacity is increased. The bladder may be overdistended without any desire to pass urine.
  • 28. The common urinary problems are: over distension, incomplete emptying and presence of residual urine. Urinary stasis is seen in more than 50 % of women. The risk of urinary tract infection is therefore high. Dilated ureters and renal pelves return to normal size within 8 weeks. There is pronounced diuresis on the second or third day of the peurperium. Only 'clean catch' sample of urine should be collected and sent for examination, with lochia should be avoided.
  • 29. GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT Increased thirst in early puerperium is due to loss of fluid during labor, in the lochia diuresis and perspiration. Constipation is a common problem for the following reasons:delayed GI motility, mild ileus following delivery, together with perineal discomfort. Some women may have the problem of anal incontinence.
  • 30. WEIGHT LOSS In addition to the weight loss (5-6 kg) as a consequence of the expulsion of the fetus, placenta, liqour and blood loss, a further loss of about 2 kg (5 lb) occurs during puerperium chiefly caused by diuresis. This weight loss may continue up to 6 months of delivery.
  • 31. FLUID LOSS There is a net fluid loss of at least 2 litres during the first week and an addition 1.5 liters during the next 5 weeks. The amount of loss depends on the amount retained during pregnancy, dehydration during labour and blood loss during delivery. The loss of salt and water are larger in women with preeclampsia and eclampsia.
  • 32. BLOOD VALUE Immediately following delivery, there is slight decrease of blood volume due to blood loss and dehydration. Blood volume returns to non-pregnant level by the second week. Cardiac output rises soon after delivery to about 80 % above the pre-labor value but slowly returns to normal within one week.
  • 33. RBC Volume and hematocrit values returns to normal by 8 weeks postpartum after the hydremia disappears. Leukocytosis to the extent of 25,000 per cumm occurs following delivery probably in respone to stress of labour. Platelet count decreases soon after the separation of the placenta but secondary elevation occurs withincrease in platelet adhesiveness between 4-10 days.
  • 34. Fibrinogen level remains high up to the second week of puerperium. A hypercogulable state persists for 48 hours postpartum and fibrinolytic activity is enhanced in first 4 days. The secondary increase in fibrinogen, factor VIII and platelets in the first eek increases therisk for thrombosis. The increase in fibriolytic activity acts as a protective mechanism.
  • 35. MENSTRUATION AND OVULATION The onset of the first menstrual period following delivery is very variable and depends on lactation. If the woman does not breasdfeed her baby, the menstruation returns by 6th week following delivery in about 40 % and by 12th week in 80 % of cases. In non-lactating mothers ovulation may occur as early as 4 weeks and in lactating mothers about 10 weeks after delivery.
  • 36. A woman who is exclusively breastfeeding, the contraceptive protection is about 90 % up to 6 months of postpartum.Thus, lactation provides a natural method of contraceptio. However, ovulation may precede the first menstrual period in about one-third and it is possible for the patient to become pregnant before she menstrautes following her confinement. Non-lactating mother should use contraceptive measures in 3rd postpartum week and the lactating mother in 3rd postpartum month.
  • 38. For the first two days following delivery, no further anatomic changes in the breast occurs.  The secretion from the breasts called colostrum which starts during pregnancy becomes more abundant during the period. COMPOSITION OF THE COLOSTRUM It is deep yellow serous fluid, alkaline in reaction. It has got a higher specific gravity, a higher protein, vitamin A, sodium and chloride content but has got lower carbohydrate, fat and potassium than the breast milk. It contains antibody (IgA) produced locally.
  • 40. MICROSCOICALLY It conrains fat globules, colostrum corpuscles and acinar epithelial cells. The colostrum corpuscles are large polynuclear leukocytes, oval or round in shape containing numerous fat globules. ADVANTAGES  The antibodies (IgA, IgG, IgM) and hormonal factors (lactoferrin) provides immunological defence to the new born.  It has laxative action on the baby because of large fat globules.
  • 41. Although lactation starts following delivery, the preparation for effective lactation starts during pregnancy. The physiological basis of lactation is divided in to four phases: 1. Mammogenesis -Preparation of breast 2. Lactogenesis -Synthesis and secretion from the breast alveoli 3. Galactokinesis -Ejection of milk 4. Galactopoiesis -Maintenance of lactation
  • 42. Mammogenesis Pregnancy is associated with a remarkable growth of both the ductal and lobualveolar system. An intact nerve supply is not essential for the growth of the mammary glands during pregnancy. Lactogenesis Though some secretory activity is evident (colostrum) during pregnancy and accelerated following delivery, milk secretion actually starts on 3rd or 4th postpartum day.  Around this time, the breasts becomes engorged, tense, tender and feel warm.
  • 43. Inspite of a high prolactin level during pregnancy, milk secretion is kept in abeyance. Probably the steroids- estrogen and progesterone circulating during pregnancy make the breast tissues unresponsive to prolactin. When the estrogen and progesterone are withdrawn following delivery, prolactin begins its milk sectretory activity in previously fully developed mammary glands. Prolactin and glucocorticoids are the important hormones in this stage. The secretory activity is enhanced directly or indirectly by also growth hormone, thyroxine and insulin. For milk secretion to occur, nursing effort is not essential.
  • 44. Galactokinesis Discharge of milk from the mammary glands depends not only on the suction exerted by the baby during suckling but also on the contractile mechanism which expresses the milk from the alveoli into the ducts. Oxytocin is major galactokinesis hormone. During suckling,a conditioned reflex is set up. The ascending tackle impulses from the nipple and areola pass via thoracic sensory (4,5 and 6) afferent neural arc to the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the hyppthalamus to synthesize and transport oxytocin to the posterior pitutary.
  • 45. Oxytocin (efferent arc via blood), is liberated from the posterior pitutary, produces contraction of the myoepithelial cells of the alveoli and the ducts containing the milk. This is the “milk ejection” or “milk let down” reflex whereby he milk is forced down into the ampulla of the lactiferous ducts, where from it can be expressed by the mother or sucked out by the baby. Presence of the infant or infant's cry can induce let down without suckling. A sensation of rise of pressure in the breasts by milk experienced by the mother at the beginning of sucking is called “draught”. This can be also produced by the injection of oxytocin
  • 46. The milk ejection reflex is inhibited by factors such as pain, breast engorgement or adverse psychic condition. The ejection reflex may be deficient for several days following initiation of milk secretion and results in breast engorgement.
  • 47. Galactopoiesis Prolactin appears to be the single most important galactpoietic hormone. For maintenance of effective and continuous lactation, suckling is essential. It is not only essential for the removal of milk from the glands, but it also causes the release of prolactin. Secreation is continuous process unless suppressed by congestion or emotional disturbances. Milk pressure reduces the rate of production and hence periodic breastfeeding is neccessary to relieve the pressure which in turn maintains the secreation.
  • 49. MILK PRODUCTION A healthy mother will produce about 500-800 ml of milk a day to feed her infant. This require about 700 Kcal/day for the mother, which must be made up from diet or from her body store. For this purpose a store of about 5 kg of fat during pregnancy is essential to make up any nutritional deficit during lactation.
  • 50. STIMULATION OF LACTATION Mother is motivated as regard the benifits of breastfeeding sincethe early pregnancy. No prelacteal feeds (honey, water) are given to the infant. Following delivery important steps are: 1. To put the baby to the breast at 2-3 hours interval from t first day. 2. Plenty of fluids to drink. 3. To avoid breast engorgement. Early (1/2-1 hour) and exclusive breastfeeding in correct position are encouraged.
  • 51. INADEQUATE MILK PRODUCTION (Lactation Failure) It may be due to infrequent suckling or due to endogenous supression of prolactin (ergot preparation, pyridoxin, diuretics or retained placental bits) Pain, anxiety and insecurity may be the hidden reasons. Unrestricted feeding at short interval (2-3 hours) is helpful.
  • 52. DRUGS TO IMPROVE MILK PRODUCTION (Galactogogues) Metoclopramide (10 mg thrice daily) increases milk volume (60-100%) by increasing prolactin levels. Sulpuride (dopamine antagonist) has also been found effective. Intranasal oxytocin contracts myoepithelial cells and causes milk let down.
  • 53. LACTATION SUPPRESION It may be needed for women who cannot breastfeed for personal or medical reasons. Lactation is suppressed when the baby is born dead or dies in the neonatal period or if breastfeeding is contraindicated. Methods commonly used are: 1. To stop breastfeeding 2. To avoid pumping or milk expression 3. To wear breast support 4. Ice packs to prevent engagement 5. Analgesics (aspirin) to relieve pain 6. A tight compression bandage is applied for 2-3 days
  • 54. MEDICAL METHODS OF SUPPRESION With estrogen, androgen or bromocriptine is not recommended. The side effects of bromocriptine are: hypotenaion, rebound secretion, seizures, myocardial infarction and puerperal stroke.
  • 55. Breast milk for premature infant is beneficial by many ways (psychological, nutritional and immunological). Metabolic disturbances like azotemia, hyperaminoacidemia and metabolic acidosis are less with breast milk compared to formula. It gives immunological protection to the premature infant. There are methods for collection (manual expression or electric pumps), and milk preservation
  • 56. Principles in management 1. To restore the health of the mother. 2. To prevent infection. 3. To care of the breasts, including promotion of breastfeeding. 4. To motivate the mother for contraception.
  • 57. IMMEDIATE ATTENTION Immediately following delivery, the patient should be closely observed as outlined in the management of the fourth stage of labour. She may be given a drink of her choice or something to eat, if she is hungry. Emotional support is essential. Usually the first feeling of mother is the sense of happiness and relief, with the birth of a healthy baby. The woman needs emotional support when she suffers from postpartum blues or stress due to newborn's prematurity, illness,congenital malformation or death.
  • 58. REST AND AMBULANCE Early ambulation after delivery is beneficial. After a good resting period, the patient becomes fresh and can breastfeed the baby or moves out of bed to go to the toilet. Early ambulation is encouraged. Advantages:- 1. Provides a sense of well-being. 2. Bladder complications and constipation are less 3. Facilitates uterine drainage and hastens involution 4. Lessens puerperal venous thrombosis and embolism. Following an uncomplicated delivery, climbing stairs, lifting objects, daily household work, cooking may be resumed.
  • 59. HOSPITAL STAY Early discharge from the hospital is an important universal procedure. If adequate supervision by trained health visitors is provided, there is no harm in early discharge. Most women are discharged fit and healthy after 2 days of spontaneous vaginal delivery with proper education and instructions. Early discharge may be done in few selected women. Some need prolonged hopsitalization due to morbidities. (infections of urinary tract, or the perineal wound, pain, or breastfeeding problems).
  • 60. DIET The patient should be on normal diet of her choice. If the patient is lactating, high calories, adequate protein, fat, plenty of fluids, minerals and vitamins are to be given. However, in non-lactating mothers, a diet as in non- pregnant is enough.
  • 61. CARE OF THE BLADDER The patient is encouraged to pass urine following delivery as soon as convenient. At times, the patient fails to pass the urine and causes are:- 1. Unaccustomed position 2. Reflex pain from the perineal injuries. This is common after a difficult labour or a forceps delivery. If the patient still fails to pass urine, catheterization should be done.
  • 62. Catheterization is also indicated in case of incomplete emptying of the bladder evidenced by the presence of residual urine of more than 60 ml. Continuous drainage is kept until the bladder tone is regained. The underlying principle of the bladder care is to ensure adequte drainage of urine so that infection and cystitis are avoided.
  • 63. CARE OF THE BOWEL The problem of constipation is much less because of early ambulation and liberalization of the dietary intake. A diet containing sufficient roughage and fluids is enough to move the bowel. If neccessary, mild laxative may given at bed time.
  • 64. SLEEP The patient is in need of rest,both physical and mental. So she should be protected against worries and undue. Sleep is ensured providing adequate physical and emotional support. If there is any discomfort, such as after pains or painful piles or engorged breasts, they should be dealth with adequate analgesics. (Ibuprofen)
  • 65. CARE OF THE VULVA & EPISIOTOMY WOUND Shortly after delivery, the vulva and buttocks are washed with soap water down over the anus and a sterile pad is applied. The patient should look after personal cleanliness of the vulval region. The perineal wound should be dressed with spirit and antiseptic powder after each act of micturition and defication or atleast twice a day. The nurse should use sterilised gloves during dressing. Cold (ice) sitz baths relieve pain.
  • 66. When the perineal pain is persistant, a vaginal and rectal examination is done to detect any hematoma, wound gaping or infection. For pain Ibuprofen is safe for nursing mothers.
  • 67. CARE OF THE BREASTS The nipple should be washed with sterile water before each feeding. It should be cleaned and kept dry after the feeding is over. A nursing brassiere provides comfortable support. Nipple soreness is avoided by frequent short feedings rather than the prolonged feeding, keeping the nipple clear and dry. Candida infection may be another cause.
  • 68. Nipple confusion is the situation where the infant accepts the artificial nipple but refuses the mother's nipple. This is avoided by making the mother's nipple more protractile and not offering any supplemental fluids to the infant.
  • 69. MATERNAL-INFANT BONDING (Rooming-In) It starts from the first few moments after birth. This is manifested by fondling, kissing, cuddling and gazing at the infant. The baby should be kept in her bed or in a cot besides her bed. This not only establishes the mother-child telationship but the mother is conversant with the art of baby care so that she can take full care of the baby while at home. Baby friendly hospital initiative promotes parent- infant-bonding, baby rooming with the mother and breast feeding.
  • 70. ASEPSIS AND ANTISEPTICS Asepsis must be maintained especially during the first week of puerperium. Liberal use of local antiseptics, aseptic measures during perineal wound dressing, use of clean bed linen and clothings are positive steps. Clean surroundings and limited number of visitors could be of help in reducing nosocomial infection.
  • 71. IMMUNIZATION Administration of anti-D-gamma globulin to unimmunized Rh-negative mother bearing Rh-positive baby. Women who are susceptible to rubella can be vaccinated safely with attenuated rubella virus. Mendatory postponement of pregnancy for at least two months following vaccination can easily be achieved. The booster dose of tetanus toxoid should be given at the time of discharge, if it is not given during pregnancy.
  • 72. After pain It is the infrequent, spasmodic pain felt in the lower abdomen after delivery for a variable period of 2-4 days. Presence of blood clots or bits of the after- births lead to hypertonic contractions of the uterus in an attempt to expell them out. This is commonly met in primipara. The pain may also be due to vigorous uterine contractions especially in multipara.
  • 73. The mechanism of pain is similar to cardiac anginal pain induced by ischemia. Both the types are excited during breastfeeding. The treatment induces massaging the uterus with expulsion of the clot followed by administration of analgesics (Ibuprofen) and antispasmodics.
  • 74. Pain on the perineum Never forget to examine the pernium when analgesic is given to relieve pain. Early detection of vulvo-vaginal hematoma can thus be made. Sitz baths (hot or cold) can give additional pain relief.
  • 75. Correction of anemia Majority of the women in the tropics remain in an anemic state following delivery. Supplimentary iron therapy (ferrous sulfate 200 mg) is to be given daily for a minimum period of 4-6 weks. Hypertension is to be treated until it comes to a normal limit. The physician should be consulted if proteinuria persists.
  • 76. TO MAINTAIN A CHART A progress chart is to be maintained noting the following:- Pulse, respiration and temperation recording 6 hourly or at least twice a day. Measurement of the height of the uterus above the symphysis pubis once a day in a fixed time with prior evacuation of the bladder and preferably the bowel too. Charater of lochia Urination and bowel movement.
  • 78. POSTPARTUM EXERCISE The objectives of postpartum execises are:- To improve the muscle tone, which are stretched during pregnancy and labour especially the abdominal and perineal muscles. To educate about correct posture to be attained when the patient is getting up from her bed. This also includes the correct principle of lifting and working positions during day-to- day activities.
  • 79. Advantages gained thereby are To minimize the risk of puerperal venous thrombosis by promoting arterial circulation and preventing venous stasis To prevent backache To prevent genital prolapse and stress incontinence of urine.
  • 80. Procedure Initially, she is taught breathing exercise and leg movements lying in bed. Gradually, she is instructed to tone up the abdominal and peineal muscles and to correct the postural defects. These can well be taught by a trained physiotherapist. The exercise should be continued for at least 3 months.
  • 81. The common exercises prescribed are... a. To tone up the pelvic floor muscles  The patient is asked to contract pelvic muscles in a manner to withhold the act of defecation or urination and then to relax.  The process is to be repeated as often as posible each day. b. To tone up the abdominal muscles  The patient is to lie in dorsal position with the knees bent and the feet flat on the bed.  The abdominal muscles are cntracted and relaxed alternately and the process is to be repeated several times a day.
  • 82. c. To tone up the back muscles  The patient is to lie on her face with the arms by her side.  The head and the shoulders are slowly moved up and down.  The procedure is to be repeated 3-4 times day and gradually increased each day.
  • 83.  Physical activity should be resumed without delay.  Sexual activity may be resumed (after 6 weeks) when the perineum is comfortable and bleeding has stopped.  Some women may get “flaring response” of some autoimmune disorders due rebound effect of the immune supression during pregnancy.
  • 84. CHECK-UP & ADVICE ON DISCHARGE A thorough check-up of the mother and the baby is mandatory prior to discharge of the patient from the hospital. Discharge certificate should have all the important information as regard the mother and baby.
  • 85. Advices include  Measures to improve her general health. Continuation of supplimentary iron therapy.  Postnatal exercises  Procedures for a gradual return to day-to-day activities  Breastfeeding and care of the newborn  Avoidance of intercourse for a reasonable period of 4- 6 weeks until lacerations or episiotomy wound are well healed.  Family planning advice and guidance- Non lactating woman should practice some form of contraceptive measures after 3 weeks and the lactating women should start 3 months after delivery
  • 86. The method of contraception will depend upon breastfeeding status, state of health and number of children. Natural methods cannot be used until mentrual cycles are regular. Exclusive breastfeeding provides 98% contraceptive protection for 6 months. Barrier methods m used. Steroid contraceptions- combined preparations are suitable for non-lactating women and should be started 3 weeks after.
  • 87. In lactating women it is avoided due to its suppressive effects. Progestin only pill may be better choice for them. Other progestins (DMPA, Levonorgestrel implants) may be used. IUDs are also a satisfactory method irrespective of breastfeeding status. Sterilization (puerperal) is suitable for those who have completed their families.
  • 88. Postnatal care includes systematic examination of the mother and the baby and appropriate advise given to the mother during postpartum period. The first postnatal examination is done and the advise is given on discharge of the patient from the hospital. The second routine postnatal care is conducted at the end of 6th week postpartum.
  • 89. Aims and objectives To assess the health status of the mother. Medical disorders like diabetes, hypertension should be reassessed. To detect and treat at the earliest any gynecological condition arising out of obstetric legacy. To note the progress of the baby including the immunization schedule for the infant. To impart family planning guidance.
  • 90. Procedure Advice given to the mother Examination of the mother Examination of the baby and advice
  • 91. Examination of the mother Routine examination includes recording weight, pallor, blood pressure and tone of the abdominal muscles and examination of the breasts. Pelvic examination should be done only when indicated. The following should be noted: A cervical smear may be taken for exfoliative cytological examination if this h not been done previously and insertion of intrauterine contraceptive device may be done when desired. Laboratory investigations depends on the clinical need may be advised.
  • 92. Examination of the baby This should be conducted by a pediatrician. In this respect, an attached well baby clinic to the postpartum unit is an ansolute necessity. The progress of the baby is evaluated and preventive or curative steps are to be taken. Immunization to the baby is started.
  • 93. Advice given General: If the patient is in sound health she is allowed to do her usual duties. Postpartum excercise may be continued for another 4-6 weeks. To evaluate the progress of the baby periodically and to continue breastfeeding for 6 months. Family planning counseling and guidance
  • 94. Management of ailments Additional investigation and appropriate therapy is given according to the abnormalities detected during check up. Management of some common gynecological problems are given below. Some women need psychological support also.
  • 95. Irregular vaginal bleeding It is not uncommon to encounter irregular or at times, heavy bleeding after 4-6 weeks following an uneventfull period after delivery. This is usually the first period especially in non- lactating women and simple assurance is enough. Persistence of bleeding dating back from childbirth is likely due to retained bits of conceptus and usually requires ultrasound examination followed by dilated and curettage operation.
  • 96. Leukorrhea Profuse white discharge might be due to ill health, vaginis, cervicitis or subinvoltution. Improvement of the general health and specific therapy cure the condition. Cervical ectopy (erosion)  Cervical ectopy (erosion) met during this period without any symptom should not be treated surgically. Hormone induced ectopy during pregnancy takes a longer time (about 12 weeks) to regress. Thus, asymptomatic ectopy should be examined again after 6 weeks and if it still persists, cauterization is to be considered.
  • 97. Backache It is mostly due to sacroiliac or lumbosacral strain. Bachache situated over the sacrum is likely due to pelvic pathology, but if it is over the lumbar region, it might be due to an orthopedic condition and is often relieved by physiotherapy. Retroversion seldom proceduced backache. If associated with subinvolution with symptoms, a pessary is inserted after correcting the position and is to be kept about 2 months.
  • 98. Slight degree of uterine descent with cystole, stress incontinence and relaxed perimium are the common findings at this stage. These can be cured by effective pelvic floor exercise. However, if the prolapse is marked, effective surgery should be done after three months.