Postpartum voiding dysfunction is defined as failure to pass urine spontaneously within 6 hours of vaginal delivery or catheter removal after delivery. It occurs in 0.7-4% of deliveries.
The postpartum bladder has a tendency to be underactive and vulnerable to the retention of urine following trauma to the bladder, pelvic floor muscles and nerves during delivery. Operations and regional anaesthesia effect bladder function and sensation.
If postpartum voiding dysfunction is unrecognised, it can lead to bladder underactivity and prolonged voiding dysfunction, with sequelae such as recurrent urinary tract infection and incontinence.