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What Is an Episiotomy?

A friend of mine needed an episiotomy when she gave birth. Can you explain what this is?

Re: A friend of mine needed an episiotomy when she gave birth. Can you explain what this is?

The Bump Expert

An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum (the skin between the vagina and anus) that helps baby fit through. Doctors used to routinely perform episiotomies because a surgical cut was thought to prevent tearing. But, it's now known that episiotomies don't prevent tears, and that natural tears actually tend to heal better than episiotomies. However, doctors will still perform an episiotomy in certain situations, such as to help deliver baby more quickly when there are signs of fetal distress.

If your doctor does decide you need an episiotomy, you'll receive a local anesthetic (unless your perineum is already numb from the pressure of baby's head). Once baby is safely delivered, your doc will give you another shot of local anesthesia and stitch up the cut. After a few weeks, the stitches (and your memory of this icky part of childbirth) will disintegrate.

watch: more about episiotomies

re: Q: What is an episiotomy?

I wonder if this info is accurate b/c my Dr told me exactly the opposite. He said that tears are harder to stich up b/c they are not a clean cut

karukaru |

re: Q: What is an episiotomy?

I went to my doctor a few weeks ago saying I wanted an episiotomy & did not want to tear. I had one with my first & it was fine for me. I heard the same about the stitching being easier. This time though they are against it & said if they cut & then say the elbow comes out with the head or she is turned a weird way it could make it so I tear to the 4th degree which would be to my rectum & that can cause serious problems. So I have changed my mind.

EJAYDE5801 |

re: Q: What is an episiotomy?

Tears are harder to stitch, but heal better (less painful healing and less problems long term). Another thing to keep in mind is the analogy of cloth ripping. If you take a piece of cloth and try and rip it, it is hard to do, but if you put a nick in it or start cutting it, then try and rip, it becomes much easier. Not to say that all episiotomies lead to tears, sometimes episiotomies have their place, just that sometimes they can make what would be a small tear a very bad tear.

DerdsGirl |

The thought of tearing really scares me. How painful is it, and how long does a tear or an episiotomy take to heal?

pancakes128 |

After much research I have asked to tear instead of being cut. I'm sure it's a lot easier for the OB to take a pane of scissors and snip away, and easier to sew back up... but it is not better for you.

cheerkri |

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