Icelandic midwife Edda Sveinsdóttir has developed a new technique to help minimize perineal trauma during childbirth, Vísir reports. Edda, who specializes in this kind of childbirth injury, says that serious perineal tearing is becoming more common in Iceland and other Nordic countries.
The new technique, which Edda designed in collaboration with Norwegian specialists, slows down the delivery process and sees midwives applying pressure, or support, to the perineum until the baby’s shoulders have been born. “Now we let the child be born in two stages,” explained Edda. “We manage it a little and instruct the woman on how she should breathe through it. We apply perineal support up until the baby’s shoulder’s are born. Between pushes, we apply a lot of pressure. It can be very difficult for us midwives because we’re applying a lot of pressure.”
Edda believes in the importance of the project, as injuries of this nature can significantly impact a women’s quality of life, with such consequences as fecal incontinence and pain during intercourse.
Edda’s technique started being used in December. According to the latest figures, occurrences of serious perineal tears were down in January—3.87% as compared with 5.4% in December and 6.5% in November. A video (in Icelandic) of the new method being demonstrated on a mannequin can be seen on the Vísir website, here.