Efficacy of warm compresses in preserving perineal integrity and decreasing pain during normal labor: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Hammad Fadlalmola, Mohammed A. Abdelmalik, Huda K.H. Masaad, Adel M. Abdalla, Mohammaed O. Mohammaed, Ibrahim Abbakr, Almoez M. Mohammed, Abdalrahman A. Saeed, Mohamed A. Beraima, Binyameen M. Sambu, Abdalla MA. Osman, Amal M. Elhusein, Mohammed Habiballa, Huda Yousef, Hawa Hamid, Anwar Ali, Anwar Ali, Nasreldeen Ahmed, Amel Banaga, Rasha Omer


The objective of the study was to assess the effect of warm compresses in preserving perineal integrity in women who delivered a single baby vaginally with cephalic presentation. We searched PubMed, Scopus, and the ISI Web of Science databases. Two researchers worked independently and conducted the study’s search, selection, and extraction. We calculated the pooled risk ratio (R.R.)- for our categorical outcomes- and mean difference (M.D.)-for our continuous outcomes- using random or fixed-effect metaanalysis according to heterogenicity status. I2 test was used to detect heterogenicity. Studies were assessed for methodological quality using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool. Our study analyzed 13 controlled trials (n= 3947) to compare warm compresses versus not using it during vaginal delivery. The analysis revealed that warm compresses group had better outcomes regarding episiotomy, degree of perineal trauma (third and fourth degree), perineal trauma requiring suturing, and also in behavioral pain scales (severe muscle tense, being very restless, and constant grimacing) with the following R.R. and confidence intervals: (R.R.= 0.56, 95% C.I.[0.23, 1.37]), (R.R.= 0.69, 95% C.I.[0.54, 0.89], p= 0.004),( (R.R.= 0.37, 95% C.I.[0.18, 0.77], p= 0.004), and ( (R.R.= 0.42, 95% C.I.[0.23, 0.78], p= 0.006) respectively. We conclude that among primiparous women, warm compresses group showed better outcome in improving perineal comfort than a the good of women who did not receive warm compresses after delivery. (Afr J Reprod Health 2023; 27 [4]: 96-123).

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