Postpartum Bladder and Kidney Infections
A bladder infection (cystitis) sometimes develops after delivery of a baby. The risk is increased when a catheter is placed in the bladder to relieve a buildup of urine during and after labor, particularly if the catheter is left in place for a while.
A kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is caused by bacteria spreading from the bladder to the kidney after delivery.
Sometimes a bladder or kidney infection develops because bacteria that were in the bladder during pregnancy cause no symptoms until after delivery.
Typically, women are given an antibiotic intravenously for a kidney infection or by mouth for a bladder infection.
If there is no evidence that the bladder infection has spread to the kidneys, antibiotics may be given for only a few days. If a kidney infection is suspected, antibiotics (such as ceftriaxone alone or ampicillin plus gentamicin) are given until the woman has had no fever for 48 hours. Often, antibiotics are then given by mouth for 7 to 14 days. After culture results are available, the antibiotic may be changed to one that is more effective against the bacteria present.
Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the kidneys functioning well and flushes bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Another urine sample is cultured 6 to 8 weeks after delivery to verify that the infection is cured.