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Bladder and Urethra


  • After childbirth, the amount of urine voided by the new mother increases as a result of extra liquids she requires. The bladder can fill up in 2-3 hours. If this time has elapsed and the urge to urinate has not occurred and the lower abdomen is distended, the medical staff should be contacted. Because bladder dysfunction can occur, a urine tube (catheter) may be inserted for 1 day or 2. Most women recover from their bladder dysfunction, but some do not and have trouble urinating.
  • After the tube has been removed, or after childbirth, even if there is no urge to go to the bathroom, the fullness of the bladder should be checked every 6 hours.
  • The frequency of urination and fullness of the bladder should be monitored and a residual urine test ordered if abnormal symptoms exist. Otherwise, continued bladder dysfunction will lead to cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).
  • If the woman feels the urge to urinate, is urinating frequently, and the urge is being relieved, it is not necessary to receive a residual urine test. Frequent insertion of a urine tube oftentimes can irritate the urethra and worsen the bladder problem.

    Residual Urine
  • Residual urine and germs are present in a damaged bladder. Most people recover from this within 6 weeks of delivery, but occasionally expansion continues for 3 months.
  • Up to 50 cc of residual urine in the bladder is normal. If 50 cc to 200 cc is present, the catheter should be removed to determine if urination is resumes. If more than 200 cc of urine is present, bladder function has not fully returned; the catheter should be inserted for another day. 
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