The Relationship Between Birthing Positions and Perineal Trauma
Perineal trauma is a prevalent problem during child birth with around 53% to 79% of vaginal deliveries resulting in perineal trauma (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2016). Perineal trauma is damage to the genitalia during childbirth. According to the Mayo Clinic, “perineal lacerations or tears occur when the baby's head is coming through the vaginal opening and is too large for the vagina to stretch around” (2015). Perineal trauma can make recovery from labor longer and may make it difficult for new mother to take care of their newborns. During the birthing process, woman can be in various positions. Flexible birthing positions are “positions that take the weight off the sacrum” which include: “kneeling, standing, all fours, squatting,” use of the birthing seat, and the “lateral position” (Edqvist et al., 2016). Non-flexible birthing positions are positions that apply weight to the sacrum which include: “semi-recumbent, lithotomy, and supine positions” (Edqvist et al., 2016). The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to assess whether women of childbearing age, during vaginal birth, who give birth in non-flexible positions compared with those who give birth in flexible positions are at an increased risk for perineal trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006), childbearing age is 15 to 44 years of age. This research is looking for the best positions during vaginal labor to prevent perineal trauma. Nurses can use this brief for patient education and to intervene during the labor process.