- •Vaginal birth is traumatic to the pelvic floor and perineum.
- •Faecal incontinence, perineal pain, urinary incontinence and dyspareunia can all be long-term effects of such damage.
- •Recognition and management of perineal trauma postpartum is vital.
- •Women rarely volunteer information regarding faecal incontinence and dyspareunia.
- •A dedicated pelvic floor clinic may be the most appropriate setting in which to care for women who are affected.
- •To learn about the guidelines in place for the repair of perineal trauma following delivery.
- •To recognise that anal sphincter damage may require follow-up and appropriate investigation.
- •To learn that direct questioning of women about dyspareunia and faecal incontinence is necessary to elicit information.
- •Is it the responsibility of women to present with their problems or should nursing and medical staff look for them?
- •Financial constraints inappropriately limit the provision of small, highly focused clinics.
Please cite this article as: Fitzpatrick M, O'Herlihy C, Postpartum care of the perineum. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2007;9:164–170.