Healing of the perineum after vaginal delivery and episiotomy or first or second degree laceration of the perineum was studied in 32 women over a 14 day period and in 11 of these women over a 28 day period. Sixteen women in the study group used moist heat to the perineum in the form of a sitz bath one to three times a day for seven days in addition to a daily shower, and recorded evaluations of their perineal comfort before and after using the sitz bath. Sixteen women in the control group recorded evaluations of their perineal comfort before and after a daily shower. There was no difference found between groups in the rate of healing of the perineum as determined by a total score evaluating signs of the healing process. The group using a sitz bath reflected a higher mean score (indicating more tissue trauma) for the first 14 days after delivery than did the group using a shower only but this difference was not significant. Both groups showed a trial effect indicating that healing occurred over time in all patients. There was no significant difference found between groups in comfort comparing the effect of a sitz bath and a shower. Both groups were significantly more comfortable after either the sitz bath or the shower and there was a significant comfort by groups interaction that indicated that the group using the sitz bath became more comfortable at a faster rate than did the group using the shower. However, the mean score of the sitz bath group before using the sitz bath was higher than that of the group using the shower, indicating that more initial discomfort was present in the group using the sitz bath.
Digital reproduction of “Healing of the perineum”. Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Print version of “Healing of the perineum”. available at J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collection. RG41.5 1970 .D36.