Postpartum Care

  • Dwenda K. Gjerdingen


The postpartum period is for many parents a time of mixed emotions and experiences. The immediate joy of giving birth to a child is soon colored by a sense of heavy responsibility and dramatic change. Additionally, mothers and sometimes fathers often face significant physical and emotional problems after childbirth. Some of these problems begin prior to delivery (e.g., hypertension, carpal tunnel syndrome, or hemorrhoids), and others develop afterward, including such potentially serious complications as hemorrhage or depression, and the less serious, though troublesome, discomforts associated with the process of childbirth. Although it has traditionally been assumed that recovery from childbirth is complete within 6 weeks, investigators are beginning to challenge this assumption,1 and there is good evidence that several problems persist far beyond this period.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Postpartum Period Postpartum Depression Postpartum Hemorrhage Early Postpartum Period 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Gjerdingen DK, Froberg DG. The fourth stage of labor: the health of birth mothers and adoptive mothers at six-weeks postpartum. Fam Med 1991;23:29–35.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hopkins J, Marcus M, Campbell SB. Postpartum depression: a critical review. Psychol Bull 1984;95:498–515.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Graef P, McGhee K, Rozycki J, et al. Postpartum concerns of breastfeeding mothers. Nurse Midwifery 1988;33(2):62–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    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
  5. 5.
    Danforth DN. Cesarean section. JAMA 1985;253:811–18.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Miller JM. Maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in cesarean section. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 1988;15:629–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gould JS, Wissinger HA. Carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy. South Med J 1978;71:144–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Saultz JW, Toffler WL, Shackles JY. Postpartum urinary retention. J Am Board Fam Pract 1991;4:341–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gilbert L, Porter W, Brown VA. Postpartum haemorrhage—a continuing problem. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1987;94:67–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gibbs RS. Severe infections in pregnancy. Med Clin North Am 1989;73:713–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cunningham FG, MacDonald PC, Gant NF. Williams Obstetrics. 18th ed. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange, 1989.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Paraskevaides EC. Deep venous thrombosis in pregnancy and the Puerperium. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 1989;29:220–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Oleen MA, Mariano JP. Controlling refractory atonic postpartum hemorrhage with Hemabate sterile solution. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1990;162:205–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Diagnosis and management of postpartum hemorrhage. Publ. no. 143. Washington, DC: ACOG, 1990.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    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
  16. 16.
    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
  17. 17.
    Martens M, Faro S, Hammill H, Maccato M. Treatment of postpartum endometritis. Hosp Pract 1990;4 Suppl: 13–19.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Thompson JD, Rock JA. Te Linde’s operative gynecology. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1992.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gruis M. Beyond maternity: postpartum concerns of mothers. Am J Matern Child Nurs 1977;2:182–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Harrison MJ, Hicks SA. Postpartum concerns of mothers and their sources of help. Can J Public Health 1983;74:325–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kumar R, Robson KM. A prospective study of emotional disorders in childbearing women. Br J Psychiatry 1984;144:35–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Watson JP, Elliott SA, Rugg AJ, Brough DI. Psychiatric disorder in pregnancy and the first postnatal year. Br J Psychiatry 1984; 144: 453–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lowe TW, Cunningham FG. Pregnancy and thyroid disease. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1991;34:72–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Weiss BD, Senf JH, Udali W The postpartum Papanicolaou smear. J Am Board Fam Pract 1989;2:217–18.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Bertrand H, Rosenblood LK. Stripping out pus in lactational mastitis: a means of preventing breast abscess. Can Med Assoc J 1991;145:299–306.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ramsay I. Postpartum thyroiditis—an underdiagnosed disease. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1986;93:1121–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Othman S, Phillips DIW, Parkes AB, et al. A long-term follow-up of postpartum thyroiditis. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1990;32:559–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Nygaard IE, Saltzman CL, Whitehouse MB, Hankin FM. Hand problems in pregnancy. Am Fam Physician 1989;39:123–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wand JS. The natural history of carpal tunnel syndrome in lactation. J R Soc Med 1989;82:349–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Spitzer RL (chair of work group to revise DSM-III), Williams JBW (text editor). Diagnostic criteria from DSM-III-R (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1987.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Unterman RR, Posner NA, Williams KN. Postpartum depressive disorders: changing trends. Birth 1990;17:131–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Berglund F, Flodh H, Lundborg P, Prame B, Sannerstedt R. Drug use during pregnancy and breast-feeding: a classification system for drug information. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand Suppl 1984; 126: 1–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    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
  34. 34.
    Lacoursiere RB. Fatherhood and mental illness: a review and new material. Psychiatr Q 1972;46:109–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Belsky J, Pensky E. Marital change across the transition to parenthood. Marriage Fam Rev 1988;12:133–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    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
  37. 37.
    Reamy KJ, White SE. Sexuality in the Puerperium: a review. Arch Sex Behav 1987;16:165–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gjerdingen DK, Froberg DG, Fontaine P. The effects of social support on women’s health during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Fam Med 1991;23:370–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dwenda K. Gjerdingen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations