Episiotomy: What Is It?


If you are expecting a child, you may getting curious and even a little bit nervous about the delivery process. There is no need to be nervous! Your Obstetrician and/or Midwife will be there with you every step of the way. However, being informed about the different child-birth scenarios, including an Episiotomy, can be helpful and take away some of your fear of the unknown.

An Episiotomy is a surgical cut that is made in the muscular area called the perineum that is made just prior to delivery. The purpose of this procedure is to enlarge the vaginal opening and speed the delivery. In the past, this procedure was a routine part of childbirth. Experts thought that a clean incision as opposed to natural tearing would make the healing process easier and shorter and would cut down on complications. However, research did not support this theory. Therefore, today, Episiotomy is only recommended in certain cases.

Your health care provider may recommend an Episiotomy if extensive vaginal tearing appears likely, if your baby is in an abnormal position or if your baby needs to be delivered quickly. If you need an Episiotomy and you have not been given any anesthetic or your anesthetic has worn off, you will be given an injection of a local anesthetic to number the area. You should not feel your healthcare provider making the incision or stitching you up afterward. If you have an Episiotomy, your wound may hurt for a couple of weeks, particularly when you walk or sit. You may apply an ice pack to the wound to help sooth the pain. Your physician may also recommend that you take prescription pain medication, an over-the-counter pain medication or a stool softener during the healing process.

For more information about Episiotomy, talk to your OBGYN or certified nurse midwife today.