Postpartum temperature

Childbirth is an unpredictable and difficult process, the course and outcome of which cannot be predicted. But even after they are over, one cannot be calm, because the postpartum process begins.

It lasts an average of six to eight weeks and is often accompanied by complications.

That is why the puerperas are not discharged from the hospital for several days and are closely monitored. One of the first signs of complications is an elevated temperature after childbirth – 37-38 ° and even higher.

How to measure the temperature after childbirth

The appearance of the first milk in a woman’s breast is almost always accompanied by a slight (37-38 °) increase in body temperature. If you measure it in the armpit in the usual way, then the indicators will surely be overestimated. To avoid errors, health workers advise taking temperature after childbirth in the elbow or rectally. Normal performance will vary slightly.  Whichever way you choose to measure temperature, you need to control the temperature after childbirth so as not to miss the first signs of postpartum complications.

Causes of fever after childbirth

There are physiological and pathological reasons for a woman’s fever after giving birth. Let’s consider each of them in more detail.

Physiological fever

After childbirth, the temperature rises in almost all young mothers. Childbirth itself is a huge stress for the mother’s body. During and after childbirth, a large amount of fluid is lost – up to eight liters. A woman loses blood, fluid, along with sweat and amniotic fluid. Such a significant fluctuation in the fluid balance in the body leads to a decrease in pressure, affects the activity of all organs and systems, mainly on the cardiovascular and excretory.

Immediately after birth, the hormonal background changes dramatically, because the placenta, which produces hormones, is excreted from the body. For this reason, the temperature often rises to 37-38 °.

Sometimes the rate of milk production does not coincide with the rate of its consumption by newborns. In cases where there is too much milk and the baby is not able to completely eat it, there is a risk of milk stagnation (lactostasis), due to which the temperature can rise to 37-38 ° and even higher. Typically, after pumping or feeding, the temperature becomes normal. To prevent lactostasis, a woman should carefully monitor her breasts, massage and express if necessary.

In the first two hours, the temperature after childbirth can range from 35 ° to 37-38 °. These fluctuations in the heat balance are associated with an abundant release of hormones at the time of birth. After giving birth, many women have muscle tremors (the muscles of the whole body contract). During this work of the muscles, heat energy is released, which leads to a rise in body temperature. With hormonal changes during postpartum depression, an increase in body temperature is also often noted.

Pathological fever

Such an increase in temperature can occur with the following postpartum complications:

  • Postpartum ulcer is a dangerous purulent-inflammatory process that occurs in the area of ​​the wound received during childbirth. If an infection gets into the place of a rupture, a crack, a suture on the perineum, cervix or the wall of the vagina, an ulcer can form. The temperature rises to 37-38 ° approximately two weeks after birth. In addition to fever, there is a burning sensation and pain in the genital area. A purulent coating appears at the site of infection, the surrounding tissues look swollen and reddened.
  • Metroendometritis is an inflammatory process of the inner surface of the uterus. It develops with the accumulation of bleeding in the uterine cavity after childbirth, with a delay in the uterus of parts of the membrane or placenta, with exacerbation of chronic uterine inflammation, and infection from the vagina when the uterus enters the uterus. With metroendometritis, 3-4 days after birth, the temperature rises to 38-39 °, chills, insomnia, appetite disappears. The uterus is painful upon examination, does not contract. Postpartum discharge intensifies, becomes cloudy and fetid. With cervical spasm, their outflow may be impaired, which can lead to their decrease or absence.
  • Parametritis is an inflammatory process of fatty tissue around the uterus. It usually develops on the one hand, rarely it is bilateral. Infection most often falls into the parametrium through ruptures of the vagina and cervix. An increase in temperature to 38-40 ° is observed on 10-12 days after the birth, combined with severe chills. The postpartum is worried about severe pain in the lower abdomen, often accompanied by soreness and impaired bowel movements and urination. An abscess may form at the site of the inflammatory process.
  • Pelveoperitonitis is an inflammatory process in the peritoneum of the pelvis. The temperature rises 15-25 days after the birth from 38 to 42 °, accompanied by very strong chills. Along with a sharp rise in temperature, severe pains occur in the lower abdomen, a significant deterioration in overall health, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory process in the vein wall, leading to the formation of a thrombus, narrowing the lumen of the vein. The blood flow in this case is difficult or stops. Thrombophlebitis of the uterine veins, as a rule, develops against the background of metroendometritis, is able to spread to the veins of the legs and pelvis. Less commonly occurs with exacerbation of chronic thrombophlebitis. The temperature rises from 37-38 ° to 40-41 ° at 2-3 weeks after birth, is often accompanied by chills and can last up to 2-3 weeks. In the course of the vessel, redness and soreness are noted, in case of blockage of the vessel with a blood clot, leg edema develops.
  • Lactostasis is a condition that occurs due to stagnation of milk in the mammary gland. It develops mainly by skipping one or more feedings, improper decanting of the mammary gland, preceding hypothermia or overheating, or obstruction of one or many milk ducts. The temperature can rise to 38-39 °. Lactostasis is accompanied by pain and a feeling of overflow in the mammary gland. The general well-being of a young mother is usually not disturbed. The temperature drops immediately after complete emptying of the breast, so it is very important to continue to apply the baby to this breast or completely express it, otherwise lactostasis can go into mastitis.
  • Mastitis is an inflammatory process in the tissues of the mammary gland. As a rule, the nipple cracks are the nipple cracks, and the infection can also enter the milk ducts from other foci with lymph or blood flow. The disease manifests itself with a sharp rise in temperature to 38-39 ° and above. Chills, pain in the mammary gland, headache, general malaise are noted. The breast enlarges, reddening of the skin may appear over the densified and inflamed part of the gland. There is also a violation of the outflow of milk due to blockage of the milk ducts (lactostasis). When trying to express milk on the nipple from the excretory ducts, droplets of pus may appear.

If you do not pay due attention to the symptoms of postpartum complications, they can go into peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum throughout the abdominal cavity) or sepsis (general poisoning of the body with microbial toxins, the so-called “blood poisoning”). The condition of a woman with these complications becomes extremely difficult, impaired consciousness, fever up to 39-42 °, chills, profuse sweating are possible. These complications are very dangerous for a woman’s life.

A slight increase in temperature

If the temperature after childbirth rises slightly (37-38 °), then you should carefully monitor the condition of the woman. Most likely, the reasons for this increase will be physiological, and it will soon decline. In any case, you need to control the temperature several times a day and be sure to report abnormalities to the medical staff.

What to do if the temperature rises

If the temperature after childbirth rises sharply and to high numbers, then, most likely, this is a symptom of postpartum complications. No need to try to self-medicate, but medical personnel should be informed right away.

When should I see a doctor?

The doctor should be consulted immediately with a sharp rise in temperature after childbirth, as well as at a temperature of 37-38 °, if it lasts more than a day, with unusual discharge from the nipples and genital tract. Only a doctor will be able to correctly determine the causes of fever and prescribe adequate treatment.

Timely treatment started with a correct diagnosis will help to quickly recover and return to maternal responsibilities. A young mother must be healthy, because the health of the baby depends on her.

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