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Effect of different episiotomy techniques on perineal pain and sexual activity 3 months after delivery

Abstract

Introduction and hypothesis

The effect of different episiotomy techniques on pain perception 3 months after delivery is unknown. Study aims were to explore the association between different episiotomy techniques and perineal pain 3 months after delivery and to assess female sexual activity in relation to episiotomy technique.

Methods

This is a prospective observational study, designed to investigate short- and long-term complications of different episiotomy techniques. All 300 participants were recruited and clinically examined during their postpartum hospital stay in order to evaluate episiotomy performance. A 3-month follow-up questionnaire addressing pain, sexual activity, and puerperal wound infection was distributed to 208 women who had scored perineal pain in a personal interview the first day after delivery.

Results

A response rate of 87.7 % was obtained. We found no difference in pain score distribution by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) when comparing midline, mediolateral, and lateral episiotomy techniques (p = 0.32) or between midline and lateral incision points (p = 0.58). Dyspareunia was reported by 33 out of 179 women, but no difference between episiotomy techniques (p = 0.90), or between episiotomy incision points (p = 0.14), was found. Perineal wound infection was reported by 9.5 %, but there was no significant difference between episiotomy techniques (p = 0.73).

Conclusions

No difference was found in perineal pain perception 3 months postpartum between different episiotomy techniques or when comparing midline and lateral incision points. Dyspareunia was not associated with any particular episiotomy technique or incision point.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Olivia Österberg for the graphical illustration in Fig. 1.

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Correspondence to Kathrine Fodstad.

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Fodstad, K., Staff, A.C. & Laine, K. Effect of different episiotomy techniques on perineal pain and sexual activity 3 months after delivery. Int Urogynecol J 25, 1629–1637 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-014-2401-2

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Keywords

  • Episiotomy
  • Perineal pain
  • Postpartum sexual function
  • Perineal wound infection