What is an Episiotomy?

What is an Episiotomy?

What is an Episiotomy?

If you’re learning about labor and birth, you might have come across the mention of episiotomies. Today, let’s break down what an episiotomy is and when it is used and avoided.


What is an episiotomy?


An episiotomy is a cut made by a healthcare provider with special episiotomy scissors at the perineum. This is done during labor in some circumstances when deemed medically necessary.


Why would an episiotomy be used?


Episiotomy should rarely be used unless in the case of an emergency. The main reason why it’s performed is that it’s thought to prevent the risk of larger vaginal tears during birth. It expands the vaginal opening for your baby to come out. 


However, newer studies say this may not be true in every case. Episiotomies are usually associated with risks.


What are the risks of an episiotomy?


Some of the risks associated with episiotomies include:

– Increased risk of having a more significant tear ( a third or fourth-degree tear)

– Risk of infection

– Increased healing time

– Urinary incontinence

– Scarring that may cause problems later


Does Sacred Roots do episiotomies?


At Sacred Roots Birth & Wellness Center, we avoid performing episiotomies, and we believe that it’s rare for it to be a necessary procedure. Our goal is to limit the amount of tearing, knowing that if there is an emergency we’d follow our medical procedures to help you and your baby.


An emergency is the only time that an episiotomy would be indicated. In that case, our midwives are trained to perform and stitch episiotomies if needed. We’ll also provide after-care for you accordingly.


What are other ways to prevent tearing?


If you’re scared of tearing, some ways you can prevent that from happening include:

– Eat well and incorporate healthy nutrients into your diet that encourage the formation of healthy skin. Healthy skin is more stretchable and less prone to tearing

– Perform pelvic floor exercises or Kegels during your last trimester

– Perineal massage 

– Water birth

– Only push when you feel a contraction and avoid pushing needlessly

– Avoid lying on your back while pushing