Perineal Module for Midwives: A Review by Tessa Kowaliw, Consumer Advocate

We are thankful for the fantastic consumer review of our Perineal Care online module produced by Tessa Kowaliw. Click below to view the video review.

The full video version can be viewed here. 

Tessa Kowaliw, a consumer advisor, educator and advocate, articulates the many reasons why woman-centred perineal care is so important, and the ways in which respectful, culturally-appropriate and individualised care can make a real difference to real women and their families.

Apart from the latest evidence and extensive information about perineal care practices, the module also features the voices of three women who have experiences of perineal trauma.

Tessa describes the topic of perineal trauma as a tricky one:

“When women talk about experiences of birth, it’s quite common for people to exchange information about whether or not they tore during birth.

There is almost an expectation that most women who birth vaginally will suffer some degree of tearing – but this conversation is not particularity helpful.

It fails to give women the information they need to prevent tearing and it also fails to provide details about the types of tears that can occur and the degree to which they can be experienced.

Caring for the perineum is not just about caring for an individual body part.

It is about caring for a woman, and her introduction to motherhood. It is about working together with colleagues in multi-disciplinary teams and connecting women with community services for physical and emotional recovery.”

Tessa is dedicated to the promotion and support of active consumer engagement and is helping to develop a health system responsive to consumer needs. Tessa offers an independent, evidence- and experience-based perspective; her primary goal is teaching consumers how to access balanced information, build a support network and be empowered, and contributing to positive change within the health system so that all of this is possible.

Tessa would like to thank Prof. Mary Steen, UniSA, Adelaide for inviting her to review this module. Prof Steen and Monica Diaz were the key researchers involved in the Wound CRC project that developed the online module content. The Perineal Care Module is suitable for all health and student health professionals working with women who have the potential to, or have sustained, perineal trauma. To find out more about the Perineal Online Module, please view the module page here. 

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