Last May, a literature review in JAMA concluded that routine episiotomies during childbirth do not improve maternal outcomes and may cause harm (Hartmann K et al. JAMA. 2005;293:2141-2148). The authors emphasized the need for research on techniques to prevent episiotomies or tears to the perineum during vaginal delivery. Now, a recent review in The Cochrane Library provides evidence in favor of one such technique—a simple, patient- or partner-administered perineal massage during the final weeks of pregnancy.
Kuehn BM. Massage During Last Weeks of Pregnancy Reduces Episiotomies During Delivery. JAMA. 2006;295(12):1361-1362. doi:10.1001/jama.295.12.1361