Incidence, trends and risk factors for perineal injuries of low-risk pregnant women: Experience from a midwife run obstetric unit, South Africa

Akm M. Hoque, Muhammad E. Hoque, Guido V. Hal


Pregnant women experience perineal injuries during childbirth. The objectives of this cross-sectional retrospective study were to estimate the incidence, trends, and risk factors for perineal injuries of women who had childbirths from January 2013 to December 2017. We used logistic regression to identify risk factors for all injuries, episiotomy, and obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI) measured by odds ratios (OR). A total of 5547 women showed gradual decreases of episiotomy from 17.6% in 2013 to 7.6% in 2017 (p<0.05). Perineal injuries were reduced from 33.3% in 2013 to 28.9% in 2017 (p<0.05). The risk factor for any perineal injury were younger ages, term pregnancy, and nil parity (p,0.05). Advanced gestational age, nil parity, and previous vaginal births were risk factors for episiotomy. However, birth weight of baby was significantly associated with OASI. Episiotomy and overall perineal injury rates were commendable. Training to midwives is needed to improve perineal care and maintain good practices during delivery. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[4]: 52-62).

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