Objective. The three objectives of this study are: to investigate the incidence of post-partum urinary retention after vaginal delivery, to investigate the relationship between various obstetric parameters and the post-partum post-void residual bladder volume and to study the natural progression of the post-void residual bladder volume in patients with covert post-partum urinary retention.
Methods. Women who had a vaginal delivery (n = 691) in a teaching hospital during a 2-month period were studied. They were classified into three groups: normal patients, those with overt urinary retention, and covert urinary retention. Their day 1 post-partum post-void residual bladder volume were recorded and analyzed with respect to the obstetric parameters. Patients with covert retention were followed up daily with ultrasound to monitor their post-void residual volume.
Results. The incidences of overt and covert retention in our unit were 4.9% and 9.7%, respectively. The overall incidence of post-partum urinary retention after vaginal delivery was 14.6%. The duration of the first and second stages of labor were significantly associated with the post-partum post-void residual bladder volume. In all patients with covert retention, their post-void residual volume returned to normal within 4 days.
Conclusion. Post-partum urinary retention is a common phenomenon that may be related to the process of parturition. Covert retention is a self-limiting phenomenon and specific treatment is unnecessary.