Objective: Anatomic differences among racial groups may contribute to observed differences in the occurrence of severe perineal lacerations at the time of vaginal delivery. The purpose of this study was to identify differences in perineal body length between racial groups.
Methods: Perineal body length was measured in primigravid women aged 18 to 45 years who were admitted in labor. Women were classified into 1 of 6 racial groups: White, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Native Hawaiian, or Micronesian. The primary outcome, perineal body length, was compared using analysis of variance.
Results: A total of 200 women were recruited. There were no significant differences in perineal body length (P = 0.42) and severe perineal lacerations (P = 0.82) between the different racial groups. The mean (SD) perineal body length of women who had a severe laceration was 3.9 (0.5) versus 3.9 (0.6) cm in women who did not have a severe laceration (P= 0.98).
Conclusion: Perineal body length does not seem to differ among the different racial groups studied and therefore an unlikely cause of racial variation in rates of severe perineal lacerations.