Perineal pain associated with perineal trauma is often underestimated. Offering regular pain relief may be advantageous compared to waiting for women to request it. Changing clinical practice in a sustained way needs a whole of team approach.
To reduce women's pain following perineal trauma in the first 48 h following childbirth and to undertake this as multidisciplinary, quality activity.
In November 2008 a questionnaire was distributed to 18 new mothers who had sustained perineal trauma during the birth in order to assess pain levels in the first 48 h and to investigate pain management therapies used. Following this survey a multidisciplinary project team undertook a series of brainstorming sessions, reviewed the literature and undertook staff surveys to identify key factors impacting on women's perineal pain. A process of decision making led to education and support of women and staff. An evidence based guideline, which involved prescribing regular pain relief for women and offering an ice pack within 1 h of giving birth was implemented, and a brochure was designed for women. A follow up questionnaire was distributed in June 2010 to 18 women and pain scores before and after the change in policy were compared.
Prior to the practice change in 2008 67% of the women surveyed rated their pain as ‘moderate’ to ‘a lot’ 48 h following the birth. Following the change in practice and implementation of a new guideline a second survey in 2010 at 48 h postpartum found 60% of women in the post intervention group rated their perineal pain as ‘a lot’ to ‘moderate’. There had been a 33% increase in women's use of pain relief options compared to the pre-intervention survey. The practice change was sustained and adopted by all the staff.
By taking a multidisciplinary quality activity an effective practice change was facilitated that appeared to decrease women's perineal pain in the 48 h following birth.
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Published online: May 10, 2012
Accepted: March 30, 2012
Received in revised form: February 25, 2012
Received: February 7, 2011
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
© 2012 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.