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Massage in Stage 2 Labor Doesn't Protect Perineum.

Stretching and massaging the perineum during the second stage of labor does not reduce the rate of perineal tears and doesn't change postpartum urinary, fecal, or sexual outcomes, a recent study suggests.

In what they described as the first randomized trial to evaluate the practice, Georgina Stamp of the Centre for Research into Nursing and Health Care, Adelaide, and her associates studied outcomes in 708 women who received perineal massage during the second stage of labor and 632 who did not.

There were no differences between the intervention and the control groups in the rates of intact perineums, episiotomies, or first- and second-degree perineal tears. There also were no differences in pain assessments at 3 days, 10 days, and 3 months, nor in dyspareunia or the resumption of sexual intercourse at 3 months postpartum (Brit. Med. J. 322:1277-80, 2001).

Urinary and bowel urgency and loss of control also were similar between the two groups, and there were no differences in cesarean rates or infant outcomes. The investigators found a statistical trend toward a reduced risk of third-degree perineal tears in the massage group, but the complication occurred so rarely that this effect may well have been due to chance, they said.

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Author:Moon, Mary Ann
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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