Promoting Effective Recovery from Labor

PERL Project

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Who We Are

The PERL Project team consists of experts in nursing, midwifery, medicine, and bioengineering who care about safe, healthy, and satisfying birth.  We bring a wide range of specialized knowledge about childbirth and urinary incontinence to the project.  The PERL Project is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Nursing Research Grant # RO1 NRO4007-05

University of Michigan,  School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls,  Room 3220
Office of Nursing Research and Health Promotion
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109
734-764-4544
e-mail:  umperl@umich.edu
Principal Investigator:  Carolyn M. Sampselle, PhD, RNC
Project Director:  Janis Miller, PhD, RN

Background

The research being performed by  the PERL Project is being done to learn about ways to keep the pelvic floor structures strong and healthy during childbirth.  The pelvic floor muscles, which can be damaged during vaginal birth, support the uterus and bladder.  Weak pelvic floor muscles can cause accidental urine loss (urinary incontinence).  Three self care practices; pelvic muscle training, prenatal perineal massage, and spontaneous pushing during birth, show promise in preventing birth-induced pelvic floor injury.  Our study will evaluate each of the three self-care practices to determine its benefits to the pelvic floor.  Hopefully our results will change current practices in the delivery room and lead to healthier pelvic floors after delivery and decreased urinary incontinence.

Research Goals

Our research goals are

to test the effect of prenatal perineal massage and spontaneous pushing during birth (in conjunction with pelvic muscle training) on long-term recovery of pelvic floor function

to test the effect of prenatal perineal massage and spontaneous pushing during birth (in conjunction with pelvic muscle training) on immediate and long-term clinically observable urogenital injury

to explore the potential of inability to contract the pelvic muscles as a clinical indicator of birth induced pelvic floor dysfunction

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University of Michigan, School of Nursing.
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Revised: February 21, 2001 .