Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-randomised trials were eligible for inclusion. Studies were required to examine cold therapy for perineal trauma sustained as a result of injury during childbirth. The included studies examined cold or iced sitz baths, and cooling devices such as ice packs and cold or cooling gel pads. The control interventions included ray lamps, witch hazel, hygiene only, warm sitz baths, warm packs, epifoam, no treatment and megapulse therapy. No inclusion criteria were stated for the outcomes. The outcomes reported in the included studies included pain reduction, reduction of inflammatory response, adverse effects on healing, use of other analgesia, maternal satisfaction and long-term benefits. A number of different measures and follow-up times were used to assess pain and inflammatory response.
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.