Cochrane Review authors selected as runners-up of Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Healthy Women Healthy Economies award

08 Nov 2019

Equal pay, migrant workers, and maternal health were the three issues highlighted by the finalists of the inaugural Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Healthy Women Healthy Economies Award. This award was launched to raise awareness and promote the health of women in the Asia-Pacific. Authors of the Cochrane Review ‘Selective versus routine use of episiotomy for vaginal birth’ were selected as runners-up at the prize announcement on 1 October 2019 at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in La Serena, Chile.

Episiotomy is a surgical procedure before childbirth that can cause severe trauma for women and impact childcare. The review of Dr Hong Jiang, an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Global Health Institute at Fudan University, and co-authors advocates for childbirth procedures that enable women to recover with less pain and trauma. Overall, the review’s findings show that selective use of episiotomy in women (where a normal delivery without forceps is anticipated) means that fewer women have severe perineal trauma. The author team did not identify any benefits of routine episiotomy for the baby or the mother, and current evidence does not justify the rationale for performing routine episiotomies to prevent severe perineal trauma. The Cochrane Review has been cited by the World Health Organization in its guidance for care during childbirth.

Lead author, Dr Jiang noted “A healthy child needs a healthy mother. Let’s help women to recover from childbirth with less pain”.

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This review was funded by UK aid from the UK government for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.