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Women having their first birth vaginally in Victoria are four times more likely to experience a severe perineal laceration (third- or fourth-degree tear) compared to those having a subsequent birth vaginally (Victoria's Mothers, Babies and Children report 2017).

This can have devastating long-term or lifelong impacts on physical and psychological wellbeing. Many of these tears are avoidable.

Through the Better births for women collaborative, Safer Care Victoria (SCV) will improve birth outcomes for all women giving birth in Victoria.

Thinking about joining? Listen to our recent Q&A session for more information on what your health service can achieve by participating in this collaborative.

About the Better births for women collaborative

Using our partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), we will test and spread the success of evidence-based clinical care bundles to reduce third- and fourth- degree perineal tear rates, focusing on five clinically endorsed interventions.

Through the collaborative, we will partner with clinicians to better detect and manage risk factors to prevent perineal trauma and improve the care and experience of women through shared decision making.

Our focus

We're focusing on five key aspects of care:

  • application of warm perineal compress during labour 
  • hands on to support the perineum, with gentle verbal guidance   
  • episiotomy performed when indicated (during instrumental delivery and at 60 degrees) 
  • genito-anal examination on all women post birth  
  • grading of perineal tear and review by experienced clinician.  


A reduction in the rate of third- and fourth-degree perineal tears across Victorian maternity services by July 2020.

Why join?

By reducing third- and fourth-degree perineal tears, together we can improve outcomes for every woman, every time. By working with us on this collaborative, you can:

  • learn from examples of high-quality care
  • use robust quality improvement processes
  • access training and experience opportunities
  • partner with women to improve the experience of care.

We will support you:

  • to harness executive leadership and drive clinical practice change
  • with professional development activities to build quality improvement capability
  • to drive consistency in uptake of the bundle care components in your service
  • to improve experience of care for every woman, every time
  • by bringing health services together for all teach, all learn opportunities.

How to apply

Victorian maternity services are invited to join the collaborative, which will run from June 2019 to mid 2020. Places are limited, applications close 17 July 2019.

To apply, you need to:

More information

Gemma Cooper, Project Director Better births for women collaborative
(03) 9096 9062

Resources for health services

Partnering in healthcare framework

Our Partnering in healthcare framework and self-assessment tool will help services involve women and their families, respond to their needs and expectations and deliver care that is safe, woman-centred, equitable and effective.

Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children report 2017

The Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children report from the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM), provides access to comprehensive data on all maternal, perinatal and paediatric mortality and morbidity, including stillbirth.

Perinatal services performance indicators 2017-18

The Victorian Perinatal services performance indicators report provides benchmarking data on a range of clinical indicators, including smoking cessation and detection of fetal growth restriction.

Get in touch

Gemma Cooper
Safer Care Victoria
(03) 9096 9062

Page last updated: 11 Jul 2019

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