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Perineal trauma


Approximately 90 per cent of women in the UK who have a vaginal birth experience some degree of perineal trauma (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) 2015a). With the rates of perineal trauma increasing in the UK, identification of women who are at increased risk, particularly of severe perineal trauma, remains a priority. The long-term consequences of extensive perineal trauma can affect a woman’s emotional health and quality of life (RCOG 2015a). Identification, treatment and advice following perineal trauma remain an important aspect of midwifery care.

Learning aims and objectives

This resource aims to provide student and qualified midwives with an understanding of perineal trauma in terms of defining what constitutes perineal trauma, its different classifications, its management  dependent on its classification, and risk factors. This module highlights the importance of understanding the risk factors for perineal trauma, correct grading, assessment of perineal trauma following birth, and after care and advice for women who have experienced perineal trauma.

On completion of this resource, midwives and student midwives should have an awareness of:

  • How perineal trauma should be classified
  • The risk factors for perineal trauma
  • How incidence of perineal trauma can be reduced
  • The need to carry out assessment safely, comfortably and with sensitivity
  • Appropriate management of perineal trauma

Keywords and linking topics

Perineal trauma, wound care, education, suturing, hand hygiene, aseptic non-touch technique

Questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/revalidation portfolio.