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Birth. 2016 Dec;43(4):293-302. doi: 10.1111/birt.12258. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

The Effect of Perineal Lacerations on Pelvic Floor Function and Anatomy at 6 Months Postpartum in a Prospective Cohort of Nulliparous Women.

Author information

1
Departments of Family and Community Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
3
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
4
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
5
Clinical and Translational Research Center, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effect of perineal lacerations on pelvic floor outcomes, including urinary and anal incontinence, sexual function, and perineal pain in a nulliparous cohort with low incidence of episiotomy.

METHODS:

Nulliparous women were prospectively recruited from a midwifery practice. Pelvic floor symptoms were assessed with validated questionnaires, physical examination, and objective measures in pregnancy and 6 months postpartum. Two trauma groups were compared, those with an intact perineum or only 1st degree lacerations and those with second-, third-, or fourth-degree lacerations.

RESULTS:

Four hundred and forty-eight women had vaginal deliveries. One hundred and fifty-one sustained second-degree or deeper perineal trauma and 297 had an intact perineum or minor trauma. Three hundred and thirty-six (74.8%) presented for 6-month follow-up. Perineal trauma was not associated with urinary or fecal incontinence, decreased sexual activity, perineal pain, or pelvic organ prolapse. Women with trauma had similar rates of sexual activity; however, they had slightly lower sexual function scores (27.3 vs 29.1). Objective measures of pelvic floor strength, rectal tone, urinary incontinence, and perineal anatomy were equivalent. The subgroup of women with deeper (> 2 centimeter) perineal trauma demonstrated increased likelihood of perineal pain (15.5% vs 6.2%) and weaker pelvic floor muscle strength (61.0% vs 44.3%) compared with women with more superficial trauma.

CONCLUSION:

Women having second-degree lacerations are not at increased risk for pelvic floor dysfunction other than increased pain, and slightly lower sexual function scores at 6 months postpartum.

KEYWORDS:

childbirth; genital tract trauma; incontinence; pelvic organ prolapse; perineal pain; sexual dysfunction

PMID:
27797099
PMCID:
PMC5125543
DOI:
10.1111/birt.12258
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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