• synonyms


[pyoo-er-peer-ee-uh m]
noun Obstetrics.
  1. the four-week period following childbirth.
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Origin of puerperium

1885–90; < Latin: childbirth, childbed, equivalent to puerper(us) of a woman in labor (puer boy, child + -perus bringing forth, akin to parere to bear, breed) + -ium -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for puerperium

Historical Examples

  • It is as physiological as any other somatic change in the puerperium.

    The Ethics of Medical Homicide and Mutilation

    Austin O'Malley

  • Clean walls, clean floors, and a scrupulously clean bed must be maintained throughout the puerperium.

    The Mother and Her Child

    William S. Sadler

  • If the labour is normal and the puerperium uncomplicated, the number of leucocytes regains the normal in about a week.

    Manual of Surgery

    Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles

  • There is always a possibility of collapse in the third stage or during the puerperium.

  • In the puerperium it is often an infection brought on by dirty midwives or physicians.

British Dictionary definitions for puerperium


  1. the period following childbirth, lasting approximately six weeks, during which the uterus returns to its normal size and shape
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin: childbirth, from puerperus relating to a woman in labour, from puer boy + parere to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for puerperium


"confinement during and after childbirth," 1863, from Latin puerperus (see puerperal).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

puerperium in Medicine


n. pl. pu•er•pe•ri•a (-pîrē-ə)
  1. The state of a woman during childbirth or immediately thereafter.
  2. The approximate six-week period lasting from childbirth to the return of normal uterine size.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.