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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Mar;180(3 Pt 1):593-600.

Randomized controlled trial of prevention of perineal trauma by perineal massage during pregnancy.

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Department of Family Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada.



The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of perineal massage during pregnancy for the prevention of perineal trauma at birth.


Pregnant women with (n = 493) and without (n = 1034) a previous vaginal birth from 5 hospitals in the province of Québec, Canada, participated in this single-blind, randomized, controlled trial. All participants received oral and written information on the prevention of perineal trauma. Women in the experimental groups were requested to perform a 10-minute perineal massage daily from the 34th or 35th week of pregnancy until delivery.


Among participants without a previous vaginal birth, 24.3% (100/411) from the perineal massage group and 15.1% (63/417) from the control group were delivered vaginally with an intact perineum, for a 9.2% absolute difference (95% confidence interval 3.8%-14.6%). The incidence of delivery with an intact perineum increased with compliance with regular practice of perineal massage (chi2 for trend 13.2, P = 0.0003). Among women with a previous vaginal birth, 34.9% (82/235) and 32.4% (78/241) in the massage and control groups, respectively, were delivered with an intact perineum, for an absolute difference of 2.5% (95% confidence interval -6.0% to 11.0%). There were no differences between the groups in the frequency of sutured vulvar and vaginal tears, women's sense of control, and satisfaction with the delivery experience.


Perineal massage is an effective approach to increasing the chance of delivery with an intact perineum for women with a first vaginal delivery but not for women with a previous vaginal birth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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