puerperal fever

noun

Definition of puerperal fever

: an abnormal condition that results from infection of the placental site following delivery or abortion and is characterized in mild form by fever but in serious cases the infection may spread through the uterine wall or pass into the bloodstream

called also childbed fever, puerperal sepsis

Examples of puerperal fever in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1847, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis could not convince his fellow doctors in Vienna to wash their hands before delivering babies as a way to prevent often fatal cases of puerperal fever in new mothers. David Tuller, STAT, "Proposed British guidelines reject useless chronic fatigue syndrome treatments," 17 Nov. 2020 And Semmelweis himself could never completely eliminate cases of puerperal fever, even when his protocols were strictly enforced. Lindsey Fitzharris, WSJ, "The Unsung Pioneer of Handwashing," 19 Mar. 2020 Semmelweis noticed that the man’s symptoms were remarkably similar to those of women suffering from puerperal fever. Lindsey Fitzharris, WSJ, "The Unsung Pioneer of Handwashing," 19 Mar. 2020 Semmelweis noticed that deaths from childbed fever, also known as puerperal fever, were much less frequent in the ward supervised solely by midwives. Emily Sohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Shockingly Recent History of People Actually Washing Their Hands," 2 Apr. 2020 Within 11 days of Mary’s birth in London in 1797, however, Wollstonecraft lay dead of puerperal fever, leaving Godwin on his own to raise the new baby and her half-sister, Fanny (Wollstonecraft’s daughter by a previous lover). Elizabeth Lowry, WSJ, "The Mother of Frankenstein," 1 June 2018 No one could figure out why so many women and children were dying from puerperal fever—commonly known as childbed fever. Michael Harriot, The Root, "The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: Lotion Is the Cure for Racism," 18 May 2018 Later in his career, Knowlton helped figure out what caused puerperal fever, write Baumrin, Cobett and Kulkarni, advancing women's health. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "This Infamous 19th-Century Birth Control Pamphlet Got Its Writer Imprisoned," 10 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puerperal fever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of puerperal fever

1716, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of puerperal fever was in 1716

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Puerperal fever.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puerperal%20fever. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for puerperal fever

puerperal fever

noun

Medical Definition of puerperal fever

: an abnormal condition that results from infection (as by streptococci) of the placental site following delivery or abortion and is characterized in mild form by fever of not over 100.4°F (38.0°C) but may progress to a localized endometritis or spread through the uterine wall and develop into peritonitis or pass into the bloodstream and produce sepsis

called also childbed fever, puerperal sepsis

More from Merriam-Webster on puerperal fever

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about puerperal fever

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