Women who have experienced tears or cuts as a result of giving birth are being encouraged to take part in a study that Midwives in Walsall are supporting with the aim of improving care for those affected.
The Childbirth Acquired Perineal Trauma Study -CHAPTER – is funded by the National Institute for Care and Health Research (NIHR) and is sponsored by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
In Walsall, Clinical Research Midwife Hannah Cook is supporting Project Lead Midwife Ana Ypes as Principal Investigator.
The study is exploring the long-term physical, mental and social impact of recovering from childbirth-related perineal trauma (tears or cuts following vaginal birth). Figures show 80 per cent of women who give birth vaginally experience some damage to the perineal area and if this is not managed properly it can lead to physical and psychological problems.
Ana explained: “We are talking to women on the delivery suite at Walsall Manor Hospital, where appropriate, and on our postnatal wards and since we launched the study last month they have been keen to share their experiences.
“The aim of the study is to better understand the frequency of perineal trauma, any subsequent complications and how they affect the women in our care. We already know that this can have an impact on bonding and breastfeeding as well as other physical and mental effects on a woman’s health and wellbeing. We want to look at good practice worldwide and ensure our postnatal care is effective for those who have been through this.
“I have enjoyed working with Hannah to get the study up and running in Walsall and have appreciated her guidance. It’s important to be part of research in this way and it really feels as though the work we’re doing can bring about meaningful change.”
The mums taking part are asked to complete a questionnaire and repeat this when their babies are six weeks, six months and 12 months old.
Hannah added: “We are keen to encourage more Midwives to take part in research studies and Ana is really embracing the opportunity and flying the flag. The CHAPTER study is part of a larger work package from the University of Birmingham so it’s especially exciting to be involved in West Midlands-based, Midwife-led research which will benefit Walsall mums-to-be now and in the future!”
It is hoped that up to 1,000 women will take part in the study across the West Midlands and it has been developed following feedback gained from new mums.