Prevention of perineal trauma by perineal massage during pregnancy: a pilot study

Birth. 1994 Mar;21(1):20-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1994.tb00911.x.


Although the performance of perineal massage by a woman or her partner during the last weeks of pregnancy may help to prevent perineal trauma at delivery, the technique has never been evaluated rigorously. This study examined the feasibility of a randomized, controlled trial, and more specifically assessed the participation rate, the acceptability of the intervention, and whether or not an attending physician could remain blind to participants' groups. The pilot study was a single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial. Nulliparous women, 32 to 34 weeks pregnant, were recruited from June 8 to July 31, 1992, at the offices of family physicians and obstetricians who practice at the Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement in Quebec City. Women assigned to the intervention group practiced daily 10-minute perineal massage and completed a diary, and those in the control group had standard care. Women and attending physicians completed a questionnaire about the aspect of blindness. Among the 174 women who delivered during the study period, 104 (59.8%) were approached by a midwife and 46 (26.4%) were randomized. Twenty (91.0%) of the 22 women in the massage group returned their perineal massage diaries. Based on the postpartum questionnaire, 20 women practiced the technique at least four times a week for three weeks or longer. No woman in the control group practiced massage. The attending physician was aware of the woman's group in only three instances (6.7%). Based on the results of this pilot study, a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of perineal massage in preventing perineal trauma at birth appears feasible.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Massage*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / prevention & control*
  • Perineum / injuries*
  • Pregnancy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control