[CG] Intrapartum bladder care


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Bladder care in labour

  • Encourage to void spontaneously at least every 4 hours

  • If unable to or has difficulty voiding insert indwelling catheter or in/out catheter every 4 hours, or earlier if patient needs to void.

  • Insert in/out catheter or indwelling catheter if an epidural is sited and unable to void spontaneously . Intermittent drainage is preferred and ideally timed with vaginal examinations.

  • Ensure bladder is empty before start of pushing. Then remove the catheter, rather than just deflating the balloon.


Insert indwelling catheter :

  • after instrumental deliveries requiring regional/GA anaesthesia

  • for all LSCS (regional & GA).

  • after all spinal anaesthetics

  • If extensive perineal trauma including 3rd and 4th degree tears

If any delay in transfer to theatre for repair of extensive perineal trauma insert indwelling catheter whilst waiting.

Removal of indwelling catheter

  • Epidural or Spinal anaesthesia - remove after minimum of 12 hours post delivery

  • Caesarean section - remove after minimum of 12 hours post delivery

  • 3rd /4th degree tears - remove after minimum of 24 hours post delivery

  • Forceps or Ventouse - remove after minimum of 12 hours post delivery

If catheter is due to be removed overnight do not disturb patient and remove in the morning.


See Postnatal Bladder Care guideline

Remember first void must be measured.

Last reviewed: 14 February 2017

Next review: 31 December 2022

Author(s): Dr Karen Guerrero, Consultant Urogynaecologist, GGC

Approved By: Dr Catrina Bain, Clinical Director, Obstetrics

Document Id: 527