pregnancy questions answered
"..is an incision into the perineum (Area of
skin between the vagina and the anus) to enlarge the space at the outlet."
Episiotomies are said to provide the following
Speed up the delivery
Prevent irregular tears
Prevent urinary incontinence [leak] at a
Is easier to repair and heals better than an
Prevents vaginal laxity later in life
You may be given a midline episiotomy which
extends straight back from the rear of the vagina towards the rectum, or more
commonly you may be given a medio-lateral episiotomy which curves away from the
rectal area. The two types are shown below:
There is disagreement in the medical community
over the value of or need for episiotomies and many obstetricians no longer use
Some health professionals believe that episiotomies:
- Heal faster and have less risk of infection than a ragged perineal tear.
-Can prevent a larger tear or injury to the muscles around the vagina and
-Can shorten the pushing stage of labor (second stage of labor).
Other health professionals believe that episiotomies:
-Are often not needed.
-Do not necessarily heal faster than a perineal tear, and may cause more pain.
-Can cause more damage to the muscles around the vagina and rectum than a tear.
The decision to have an episiotomy probably cannot be made until delivery. If an
episiotomy is determined by your health professional to be necessary, it should
only be done just before delivery. You may want to discuss this issue with your
health professional at one of your prenatal visits.