A joint project by the Universities of Birmingham and Staffordshire, funded by our Shine programme, has developed a new online training package to assist midwives and obstetricians carry out medical procedures to help women who have sustained a perineal injury during childbirth. Perineal injury affects around 85% of women who give birth vaginally. Each year around 400,000 women in the UK require suturing and, depending on the extent of the injury, sometimes prolonged follow-up treatment and, in severe cases, corrective surgery.

Scientists at the universities have jointly led the development of MaternityPEARLS – a perineal assessment and repair eLearning system. The self-directed learning kit has been adopted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to help to reduce the pain and side effects associated with perineal injury.

The development of the e-learning package was funded through our Shine programme which aims to supporting innovative projects designed to improve the quality of care.

The package was produced as a result of the PEARLS clinical trial, the first study of its kind to assess the impact of a ‘hands on’ training package for perineal trauma. It was designed to enhance the knowledge and practical skills of midwives and obstetricians in the assessment and management of perineal trauma repair, improve the implementation of evidence into practice and women-reported outcomes, whilst saving money.

Khaled Ismail, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s Hospital, who jointly led the research with Professor Christine Kettle (Professor of Women’s Health, Staffordshire University), commented:

‘It is great news that MaternityPEARLS is now available through the RCOG for global access as part of core training. The training package is also available for any hospital or higher education institution to access for a small fee, in line with other RCOG e-learning modules’.

Access the MaternityPEARLS e-learning package.