How to alleviate perineal pain following an episiotomy
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How to alleviate perineal pain following an episiotomy

Mary Steen Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Bernie Cummins Advanced divisional director of midwifery and nursing, Women’s and Babies Division, SA Health, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Rationale and key points

An episiotomy increases maternal morbidity in the postnatal period. Alleviating perineal pain is an important aspect of maternal health care.

A combination of pain relief methods, systemic and localised, may be required to alleviate perineal pain associated with an episiotomy.

It is important that midwives and doctors advise women on how to alleviate perineal pain, prevent infection and promote healing following an episiotomy.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

The advice you would give to a woman who has recently given birth to alleviate perineal pain.

The short and long-term problems associated with perineal pain.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at

Nursing Standard. 30, 31,34-37. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.31.34.s43


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 19 November 2015

Accepted: 16 December 2015