A Randomized Study of Two Methods of Teaching Perineal Massage: Effects on Practice Rates, Episiotomy Rates, and Lacerations


  • Patricia A. Mynaugh Ph.D., R.N.

    Corresponding author
    1. Patricia A. Mynaugh is Assistant Professor of Nursing at the College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.
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Address correspondence to the author, College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085.


ABSTRACT: This study examined the effects of two methods of teaching perineal massage on the rates of practice of perineal massage, of episiotomy, and of lacerations in primiparas at birth. Couples in 20 randomly selected sections of four prenatal class series received routine printed and verbal instruction and a 12-minute video demonstration of perineal massage, or only the routine printed and verbal instruction. Women reported their practice rates in daily diary records, which were mailed to the researcher weekly. Hospital records provided delivery data. Of the 83 women, 23 (28%) practiced perineal massage: 16 (35.6%) in the experimental group, 7 (18.4%) controls. Even though the rate of practice almost doubled among experimental group women, the videotape instruction method was statistically nosignificant. Episiotomy and laceration rates were not affected by teaching method. More severe lacerations occurred among the experimental group; however, the control group had almost four times as many severe (21%) as minor (5.3%) lacerations. The experimental group had twice as many severe (28.9%) as minor (13.3%) lacerations. These results were also nosignificant.