|dc.description.abstract||Background: Perineal trauma following childbirth is reported to affect about 70% of women in low and medium-income countries birthing in health facilities. Although it is an unfavourable outcome of birthing with the potential to affect many aspects of a woman’s well-being in both the immediate and long-term; it is still a neglected phenomenon of women’s health, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding on the impact of birth perineal traumas on women birthing at Ndola Teaching Hospital. Therefore, this study sought to answer the research question “what is the impact of perineal trauma on women birthing at Ndola Teaching Hospital?’
Methodology: This cross-sectional qualitative study utilised a descriptive phenomenology approach. Purposive sampling was utilised to select 15 women aged between 18 and 37 years. The participants had birthed at Ndola Teaching Hospital and sustained birth perineal traumas. The sample size was determined by data saturation. Data were collected between November, 2020 and April, 2021, through face-to-face interviews utilising an interview guide. All of the interviews took place in participants’ homes and lasted between 12 and 40 minutes. Data were analysed using content analysis.
Findings: Four major themes, namely; “Perineal pain”, “Fear of future reproductive health outcomes”, “Substandard perineal wound management”, and “Diversion from Reality” emerged from the participants’ descriptions of the impact of perineal trauma. The major themes were supported by nine subthemes.
Implication for practice: Most women who sustain childbirth perineal trauma suffer in silence. Therefore, midwives need to be very observant during the postpartum period because the morbidity affects women physically, psychologically, emotionally and socially. Thus, it has the potential to negatively affect mother-infant bonding.
Recommendations: The study recommends that good clinical supervision and mentorship of trainees during clinical learning should be strengthened. Professional counselling of women and couples on perineal care, sex education and future reproductive activities should be included in the postnatal package for women who sustain perineal trauma during childbirth.
Conclusion: Birth perineal trauma is a distressing phenomenon of childbirth. Skilful repair of perineal traumas with emphasis on pain management and diligent postnatal care comprising perineal examination and health education can reduce negative impacts on women.
Key words: Perineal trauma, impact, birthing women, wound management, perineal pain||en