Research: STAMP and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 68


STAMP and colleagues, Centre for Research into Nursing and Health Care, University of South Australia and North Western Adelaide Health Service, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia,, investigated the effects of perineal massage in the second stage of labour on perineal outcomes.



In a randomized controlled clinical trial, 1340 women at 36 weeks’ gestation, expecting normal birth of a singleton, who during labour progressed to full dilatation of the cervix or 8 cm or more if nulliparous or 5 cm or more if multiparous, were randomized to receive or not to receive massage and stretching of the perineum during the second stage of labour with a water-soluble lubricant. Primary outcome measures were rates of: intact perineum; episiotomies; and first, second, third and fourth degree tears. Secondary outcomes were: pain at 3 and 10 days postpartum; and pain, dyspareunia, resumption of sexual intercourse, and urinary and faecal incontinence and urgency at 3 months postpartum.


Rates of intact perineums, first and second degree tears, and episiotomies were similar in the massage and control groups. The massage group had fewer third degree tears (12 [1.7%] versus 23 [3.6%]; absolute risk, 2.11; relative risk, 0.45; however, the trial was not sufficiently powered to measure this rarer risk. There were no differences in secondary outcomes between the groups.



Stamp G et al. Perineal massage in labour and prevention of perineal trauma: randomized controlled trial. British Medical Journal 322 (7297): 1277-80. May 2001.

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