OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of combined perineal massage and warm compress to the perineum (MassComp) compared to perineal massage alone during pushing in the second stage of labour in reducing perineal trauma requiring suturing in nulliparas.
STUDY DESIGN: A randomised trial was performed in a University hospital, Malaysia from June 2020 to May 2021. 281 term nulliparas who were about to start pushing in the second stage of labour were randomised to combined perineal massage and warm compress or perineal massage alone to the perineum. Primary outcome was suturing for perineal injury (episiotomy or tear). The Chi-square test was used to analyse categorical data, Student t test to compare means and distributions for normally distributed continuous data and Mann Whitney U test for appropriate ordinal data.
RESULTS: Data from 277 participants (140 MassComp arm, 137 perineal massage alone arm) were analysed based on modified intention to treat basis. Perineal suturing rates were 133/140(95.0%) [MassComp] vs. 128/137(93.4%) [perineal massage alone] RR 1.02(95%CI 0.96-1.08), P = 0.615. Of the secondary outcomes, Likert scale response to recommend allocated treatment to a friend was 103/140(73.6%) vs. 84/137(61.3%) RR 1.20(95%CI 1.02-1.42)NNTb 9(95%CI 4.3-76.4) P = 0.029, participants' satisfaction with care (visual numerical rating scale 0-10) median [interquartile range] 6[6-8] vs. 6[5-8] P = 0.392, intervention to delivery intervals were 25[15-35] vs. 19[14-30] minutes P = 0.012, major perineal injury (episiotomy, second degree or higher tears) rates 116/140(82.9%) vs. 119/137(86.9%) RR 0.95(95%CI 0.86-1.05), P = 0.404, episiotomy rates 97/140(69.3%) vs. 97/140(70.8%) RR 0.98(95%CI 0.84-1.14), P = 0.795, and spontaneous vaginal delivery rates 103/140(73.6%) vs. 106/137(77.4%) RR 0.95(95%CI 0.83-1.09), P = 0.488 for MassComp vs. perineal massage alone respectively. Other maternal and neonatal outcomes were not significantly different.
CONCLUSION: Massage and warm compress during pushing did not decrease the likelihood of perineal injury requiring suturing in nulliparas when compared to perineal massage alone. Women were more likely to recommend massage and warm compress during pushing to a friend.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.