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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 1994;38(1):51-3.

Insidious urinary retention after vaginal delivery: prevalence and symptoms at follow-up in a population-based study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Lund, Sweden.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of postpartum urinary retention in women after vaginal delivery and to determine whether parturients with retention develop voiding problems later. During a 3-month period, all parturients in the catchment area of the University Hospital, Lund, were investigated 3 days after delivery, residual volume being measured by ultrasonography. All those with postpartal retention were contacted 4 years after delivery, when they were reexamined by ultrasonography and asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding urinary problems. In all, 539 women were scanned post partum, and 8 (1.5%) had a residual volume exceeding 150 ml (range 156-320 ml). Retention was more common among primiparae after instrumental delivery or epidural analgesia. The symptoms were normalized spontaneously within a few days in all cases. At follow-up 4 years later, the prevalence of urinary symptoms was not higher than that in the general population. Ultrasonography to detect urinary retention does not seem to have any place in the normal postpartal care. However, extended supervision may be appropriate in parturients receiving epidural analgesia or in those submitted to instrumental deliveries.

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