Postpartum Care

  • Dwenda K. Gjerdingen


The postpartum period, originally thought to encompass only the first 6 weeks after childbirth, frequently continues for a much longer time.1,2 It is a stage defined not only by involution of the uterus and healing of perineal tissues but also by changes in other body systems, including the breasts, endocrine organs, integument, and respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. In addition, for many women the months after childbirth are characterized by profound changes in energy, mental health, and general well-being. Other family members may also experience physical and emotional changes, so the postpartum period is both an individual and a family event. To support individuals through this transition, it is important that health care providers give effective “routine” care, recognize and manage early and delayed postpartum problems as they occur, and provide education to families that optimizes their health during this time.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Necrotizing Fasciitis Postpartum Depression Postpartum Hemorrhage White Blood Count 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Tulman L, Fawcett J. Return of functional ability after childbirth. Nurs Res 1988;37:77–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gjerdingen DK, Froberg DG, Chaloner KM, McGovern PM. Changes in women’s physical health during the first postpartum year. Arch Fam Med 1993;2:277–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ostgaard HC, Andersson GB. Postpartum low-back pain. Spine 1992;17:53–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hopkins J, Marcus M, Campbell SB. Postpartum depression: a critical review. Psychol Bull 1984;95:498–515.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Graef P, McGhee K, Rozycki J, et al. Postpartum concerns of breastfeeding mothers. Nurse Midwif 1988;33(2):62–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Leigh DA, Emmanuel FXS, Sedgwick J, Dean R. Post-operative urinary tract infection and wound infection in women undergoing caesarean section: a comparison of two study periods in 1985 and 1987. J Hosp Infect 1990;15:107–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Calhoun BC, Brost B. Emergency management of sudden puerperal fever. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 1995;22: 357–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Monga M, Oshiro BT. Puerperal infections. Semin Perinatol 1993;17:426–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gould JS, Wissinger HA. Carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy. South Med J 1978;71:144–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Saultz JW, Toffler WL, Shackles JY. Postpartum urinary retention. J Am Board Fam Pract 1991;4:341–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gilbert L, Porter W, Brown VA. Postpartum hemorrhage—a continuing problem. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1987;94:67–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Miller JM. Maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in cesarean section. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 1988; 15:629–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cunningham FG, MacDonald PC, Gant NF, Leveno KJ, Gilstrap LC. Williams obstetrics. 19th ed. Norwalk, CT: Apple-ton & Lange, 1993.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Paraskevaides EC. Deep venous thrombosis in pregnancy and the puerperium. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 1989;29: 220–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Acheson LS, Danner SC. Postpartum care and breast-feeding. Prim Care 1993;20:729–47.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Saarikoski S. Contraception during lactation. Ann Med 1993; 25:181–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Diagnosis and management of postpartum hemorrhage. Washington, DC: ACOG, 1990. Publication 143.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yamashita Y, Takahashi M, Ito M, Okamura H. Transcatheter arterial embolization in the management of postpartum hemorrhage due to genital tract injury. Obstet Gynecol 1991; 77:160–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Greenwood LH, Glickman MG, Schwartz PE, Morse SS, Denny DF. Obstetric and nonmalignant gynecologic bleeding: treatment with angiographic embolization. Radiology 1987;164:155–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Thompson JD, Rock JA. Te Linde’s operative gynecology. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1992.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gruis M. Beyond maternity: postpartum concerns of mothers. Am J Matern Child Nurs 1977;2:182–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Harrison MJ, Hicks SA. Postpartum concerns of mothers and their sources of help. Can J Public Health 1983;74:325–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Atkinson LS, Baxley EG. Postpartum fatigue. Am Fam Physician 1994;50:113–18.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wand JS. The natural history of carpal tunnel syndrome in lactation. J R Soc Med 1989;82:349–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gjerdingen DK, Chaloner KM. The relationship of women’s postpartum mental health to employment, childbirth, and social support. J Fam Pract 1994;38:465–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in pregnancy and lactation. 4th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1994.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Thyroid disease in pregnancy. Int J Gynecol Obstet 1993;43:82–8. ACOG Technical Bulletin 181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Clinton JF. Physical and emotional responses of expectant fathers throughout pregnancy and the early postpartum period. Int J Nurs Stud 1987;24:59–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lacoursiere RB. Fatherhood and mental illness: a review and new material. Psychiatr Q 1972;46:109–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Griffin EW, De La Torre C. Sibling jealousy: the family with a new baby. Am Fam Physician 1983;28:143–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Belsky J, Pensky E. Marital change across the transition to parenthood. Marriage Fam Rev 1988;12:133–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Fischman SH, Rankin EA, Soeken KL, Lenz ER. Changes in sexual relationships in postpartum couples. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs 1986;Jan/Feb:58–63.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Reamy KJ, White SE. Sexuality in the puerperium: a review. Arch Sex Behav 1987;16:165–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dwenda K. Gjerdingen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations