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[pyoo-er-peer-ee-uh m] /ˌpyu ərˈpɪər i əm/
noun, Obstetrics
the four-week period following childbirth.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for puerperium
  • Maternal collapse in pregnancy and the puerperium.
British Dictionary definitions for puerperium


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

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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puerperium in Medicine

puerperium pu·er·pe·ri·um (pyōō'ər-pēr'ē-əm)
n. pl. pu·er·pe·ri·a (-pēr'ē-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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for puerperium

the period of adjustment after childbirth during which the mother's reproductive system returns to its normal prepregnant state. It generally lasts six to eight weeks and ends with the first ovulation and the return of normal menstruation.

Learn more about puerperium with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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