Objective: To provide an account of women's experiences of perineal trauma in the immediate post-delivery period.
Design: Qualitative, using unstructured interviews with broad questions about experiences of childbirth and perineal trauma.
Setting: The South Wales.
Participants: A snowball technique was employed to recruit six participants, all of whom were between 25 and 40 years of age, white, British and had had access to further education.
Findings: The women identified several factors which informed their experience. Of significance to midwives are the following: the doctor--'patient' relationship, particularly in relation to gender, not feeling heard, the expression of feelings; and a lack of available information and advice.
Key conclusions and implications for practice: The study identified some of the reasons why women sufferers find it difficult to get these issues on the health-care agendae and the need for more research. Improvements in care are necessary in the areas of interpersonal skills and perineal suturing. Listening to women is the key to responsive care.