Postpregnancy Genital Tract and Wound Infections

Nell Tharpe, CNM, CRNFA, MS


J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008;53(3):236-246. 

In This Article

Evaluation of Postpartum Fever

Postpartum fever is defined by the Joint Committee on Maternal Welfare as an "oral temperature of ≥38.0°C (100.4°F) on any 2 of the first 10 days postpartum exclusive of the first 24 hours."[17] While common causes of postpartum fever include endometritis and wound infections, other conditions, such as urinary tract infection, deep vein thrombosis, or mastitis, must be excluded.[7] The goal of the evaluation process is to exclude or identify differential diagnoses related to generalized infection, such as viral syndrome, and system-specific sources of infection, such as endometritis.[16] In addition to infections in the reproductive tract, differential diagnoses may include conditions such as cystitis, pyelonephritis, atelectasis, and pneumonia.[12,18] Rarer etiologies of postpartum fever include appendicitis or diverticulitis, and in these cases, the presence of pain associated with a fresh abdominal surgical wound can effectively disguise the condition.