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The Effectiveness and Safety of Intrapartum or Postpartum Catheterization in the Prevention of Postpartum Urinary Retention: A Scoping Review

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Introduction and Hypothesis

Catheterization is a common treatment for postpartum urinary retention (PUR); however, its application before diagnosis of PUR remains unclear. The aim was to give an overview of the existing literature on the effectiveness and safety of intrapartum or postpartum catheterization in the prevention of PUR.


This scoping review followed a methodological framework. PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase, Web of Science, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure, WanFang, the China Science and Technology Journal Database, and the China Biomedical Literature Database were searched from the inception of each database to 21 May 2023.


The search revealed 16 studies examining three different catheterization methodologies, including 12 intrapartum studies. Ten studies concluded that intrapartum or postpartum catheterization prevented PUR, two of which were only for overt or covert PUR. In 4 out of 13 experimental studies, no significant difference was found: one for intrapartum catheterization versus routine nursing, the other for intrapartum or postpartum intermittent versus indwelling catheterization. However, one found that postpartum disposable catheterization after ineffective targeted care reduced the incidence of PUR compared with indwelling catheterization. One out of the 3 case–control studies concluded that prenatal catheterization ≥2 times was a risk factor for PUR.


Based on the findings in this scoping review, catheterization prior to the diagnosis of PUR appears to play a role in preventing PUR and is safe. Preliminary evidence is accumulating on the effectiveness of three types of catheterization methods in preventing PUR, but more comprehensive studies are needed to establish these findings.

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We acknowledge the Guangzhou Medical University Library for providing the database and the Third Clinical College of Guangzhou Medical University for offering learning opportunities.


Scientific research project of Guangdong Nurses Association (gdshsxh2023ms31).

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Authors and Affiliations



T.-.ZL.: conceptualization, methodology, writing review and editing, supervision, visualization; L.-P.C.: conceptualization, methodology, writing review and editing, supervision, visualization; X.-.L.Z.: investigation, methodology, resources, writing review and editing, supervision; H.-T.C.: investigation, writing original draft, methodology, review and editing, validation; J.-.YP.: investigation, writing original draft, methodology, review and editing, validation.

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Correspondence to Li-ping Chen or Tai-zhen Luo.

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Chen, Ht., Zhang, Xl., Peng, Jy. et al. The Effectiveness and Safety of Intrapartum or Postpartum Catheterization in the Prevention of Postpartum Urinary Retention: A Scoping Review. Int Urogynecol J (2024).

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