Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Should You Have an Episiotomy?

The fact of the matter is that there is actually some controversy about whether it’s better to allow your baby to be born completely naturally, or whether certain medical interventions should be practiced. One of the areas that’s often an area of contention is the area of the episiotomy. To decide whether an episiotomy is right for you, you need to understand some things first.

An episiotomy is the process of making a surgical cut in the perineum – the area of muscular tissue between the anus and the vagina. The idea behind an episiotomy is to create more room for your baby to pass through by enlarging the vaginal opening.

The episiotomy used to be used on a routine basis to help keep the vagina from tearing. In recent years, however, it has become less and less a common practice. Today, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that an episiotomy not be done as a matter of regular, routine practice.

What are the problems with an episiotomy? Well, for one thing, research has actually shown that women who do tear spontaneously during childbirth may actually recover sooner and have fewer complications than women who have an episiotomy.

In addition, there is a greater loss of blood, in general, with an episiotomy than with tearing. In some cases, a woman who has an episiotomy may still tear, and wind up with lacerations that go all the way into the anus.

These kinds of serious tears can cause big problems. It can take much longer to recover from this kind of a tear than from a natural tear. It can also affect how strong a woman’s pelvic floor muscles are. In some cases, it may cause issues with anal incontinence as those muscles have been torn.

There may be some cases in which an episiotomy is a medical necessity. You should talk at length with your health care provider about the situation before you’re in labor, so that when you get there you won’t have any surprises and you’ll have agreed with your provider on how to approach it.

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