puerperal fever


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puerperal

 [pu-er´per-al]
pertaining to a puerpera or to the puerperium.
puerperal fever an infectious, sometimes fatal, disease of childbirth; until the mid-19th century, this dreaded, then-mysterious illness could sweep through a hospital maternity ward and kill most of the new mothers. Today strict aseptic hospital techniques have made the condition uncommon in most parts of the world, except in unusual circumstances such as illegally induced abortion. Called also puerperal sepsis and childbed fever.

Puerperal fever results from an infection, usually streptococcal, originating in the birth canal and affecting the endometrium. This infection can spread throughout the body, causing septicemia. The preliminary symptoms are fever, chills, excessive bleeding, foul lochia, and abdominal and pelvic pain. In acute stages, the pain spreads to the legs and chest; complications may be serious or even fatal. Treatment consists mainly of administration of antibiotics, which in most instances promptly clear up the infection. If the disease has progressed to an acute stage before treatment begins, blood transfusions may be necessary.

pu·er·per·al fe·ver

postpartum sepsis with a rise in fever after the first 24 hours following delivery, but before the eleventh postpartum day.

puerperal fever

n.
An illness resulting from infection of the endometrium following childbirth or abortion, marked by fever and septicemia and usually caused by unsterile technique. Also called childbed fever.

pu·er·per·al fe·ver

(pyū-er'pĕr-ăl fē'vĕr)
Postpartum sepsis with a rise in temperature after the first 24 hours following delivery, but before the eleventh postpartum day.
Synonym(s): childbed fever.
References in periodicals archive ?
Semmelweis instructed his interns to wash their hands with chlorinated lime solutions and documented an immediate reduction in puerperal fever incidence.
Loudon's other main emphasis--the epidemiological--is given voice in chapters on "Epidemic Puerperal Fever in Towns" (chapter four), "Puerperal Fever and the Lying-in Hospitals" (chapter five), "Puerperal Fever in the Early Twentieth Century" (chapter ten), and, perhaps most importantly, in the closing chapter, "The Epidemiology of Puerperal Fever" (chapter twelve).
For example, it does not analyze or even discuss The Etiology of Puerperal Fever. In addition, it is rather short (only 40 pages in the Balland edition) and it contains a number of factual errors, as several critics have pointed out.
Loudon does not say, although his material suggests that recurrent epidemics of puerperal fever may have been an inadvertent consequence of sociological and medical advances of the nineteenth century.
It was not until the observations of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ignaz Semmelweis that puerperal fever was thought to be a communicable disease transmitted from health-care workers to patients.
general practitioners were equal in responsibility to midwives in causing deaths from puerperal fever...[and that] more childbearing women died from improper obstetrical operations than from infection caused by midwives.
In the case of puerperal fever (from Latin words meaning "childbearing," and more familiarly known as childbed fever), there were suspicious signs of a certain type of contagion.
American medical science gained international stature with the publication of "The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever" by Dr.
His first child died of cholera in 1900; his younger sister first, and a daughter, later, were committed to mental hospitals; another daughter died of puerperal fever after childbirth; and the sudden death of his wife in 1938 left him bereft of her support not long before the suicide of their son.
Holmes was not only ahead of his time in social thought, but his essay The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever (1843) anticipated Semmelweis.