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ABSTRACT

Since the late nineteenth century, the average postpartum woman has been subjected to a great deal of swabbing, soaking, and spraying, all in the name of perineal care. Many elaborate regimens have been devised to prevent infection, promote healing, and provide comfort to the mother, often based on little physiologic rationale or research data. All of these regimens have taken away valuable time and energy that the new mother needs for more important tasks. A review of past and current perineal care practices and major research studies relative to perineal care can form a foundation from which to evaluate and update the management of perineal care.