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PERINEAL MASSAGE: Effect on the Incidence of Episiotomy and Laceration in a Nulliparous Population


  • Melissa D. Avery CNM, MSN,

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    • Melissa Avery is a practicing nurse-midwife with Group Health, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a doctoral student in the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. She received her BS from Northern Illinois University and her MSN from the University of Kentucky.

  • Laura Van Arsdale CMN, MS

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    • Laura Van Arsdale is a practicing nurse-midwife at Women's Health Care Associates, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her BS from California State University, Northridge, and her MS from the University of Minnesota.

Melissa D. Avery 5405 James Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55419.


This prospective study compared 29 nulliparous women who practiced perineal massage in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy with a control group of 26. Episiotomy and/or second degree (or greater) perineal laceration occurred in 48% of experimental subjects and 77% of controls. Chi square analysis showed a significant difference between the groups (p < 0.05). Perineal massage may be one technique that will decrease the need for episiotomy. Suggestions for further research are discussed.