Does antepartum perineal massage reduce intrapartum lacerations?
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Yes--to a point. Antepartum perineal massage reduces both the incidence of perineal trauma requiring suturing and the likelihood of episiotomy in women who have never given birth vaginally. It reduces the incidence of postpartum perineal pain in women who have given birth vaginally. Perineal massage doesn't reduce the frequency of first- or second-degree lacerations or third- and fourth-degree perineal trauma. (Strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, systematic review of randomized controlled trials [RCTs].)
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