You asked

What is an episiotomy?

Episiotomy is the fancy word for the surgical cutting done to make room for your baby’s birth. This incision is used to make room for the baby’s head and in effort to keep mum from tearing too badly during childbirth. While an episiotomy used to be pretty standard for women in labour, now there are only a few good reasons for making this cut including a baby with a larger head, a breeched baby, or a baby in any kind of distress. Back in the day it was assumed that a clean, surgical cut would heal more cleanly than a natural rip or tear.

Recent studies have found that doing an episiotomy can actually make tearing worse so they are not done as often anymore. While tearing is just as common as ever, there is no great prevention technique for preventing a bay tear now that episiotomies are no longer considered viable.

It is best to discuss episiotomy with your physician before labour if you are concerned about having this procedure done. The only prevention solution recommended to keep from tearing is regular perineal massage to help the vaginal area become more stretchy and ready to push out your new baby.

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