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BACKGROUND: Perineal trauma, involving either naturally occurring tears or episiotomy, is common during childbirth but little is known about its psychological impact. This study aimed to determine the associations between childbirth related perineal trauma and psychological outcomes reported by women three months after giving birth and to explore factors that could mediate relationships between perineal trauma and maternal psychological outcomes. METHODS: This study was a secondary analysis of data from a cross-sectional population-based survey of maternal and infant health. A total of 4,578 women responded to the survey, of which 3,307 had a vaginal birth and were eligible for inclusion into the analysis. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms were assessed using validated self- report measures. Physical symptoms were derived from a checklist and combined to produce a composite physical symptoms score. Regression models were fitted to explore the associations. RESULTS: Nearly three quarters of women experienced some degree of perineal trauma. Women who experienced perineal trauma reported having more postnatal physical symptoms (adjusted proportional odds ratio 1.47, 95%CI 1.38 to 1.57, p-value 

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Pregnancy Childbirth

Publication Date





Perineal trauma, Postpartum, Psychological outcomes, Survey, Pregnancy, Infant, Humans, Female, Cross-Sectional Studies, Postpartum Period, Checklist, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders