Episiotomy

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Episiotomy is cutting of the perineum (the tissue between the opening of the vagina and the anus) to allow for the birth of a baby

Illustration of the episiotomy procedure

Before performing an episiotomy, your delivery Provider may inject the perineum with local anesthetics.

Past

In the past, almost every single woman received an episiotomy as part of the birthing process. Even women that had several vaginal births received an episiotomy

Present

Recently, scientific information showed that women who get an episiotomy is at risk of extending their episiotomy into a more serious tear (i.e., tearing into the rectum -4th degree laceration or the sphincter of the anus – 3rd degree laceration). Because of this finding, episiotomy is not a routine part of modern obstetrics.

Your provider may perform an episiotomy if there is a need to create more room for the baby or if there is an emergency requiring quick delivery of the baby. Otherwise, by slowing down the delivery of the baby’s head, there is less chance of a laceration or severity of the laceration. This method was popularized by the midwifery discipline.