Overview & Description
An episiotomy is a cut made to widen the opening of thevagina. It is done toward the end of labor to keep the vaginal tissues fromtearing as the baby is born. Sometimes an episiotomy can also help thedoctor to deliver the baby quickly if the baby is in distress.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Usually, the doctor or midwife attending the birth decideswhether to do an episiotomy. An episiotomy may be done when:
How is the procedure performed?
As the crown of the baby’s head pushes through thevaginal opening, an anesthetic is injected in the mother’s perineum to numb it.The perineum is the skin area between the vagina and anus. A cut 2 to3 inches long is made there. After the baby is born and the placenta isdelivered, the cut is stitched up.
Preparation & Expectations
What happens right after the procedure?
Most episiotomies are done to prevent large vaginal tearsduring childbirth. These tears heal slowly, often with poor results.Widening and tearing of the vagina may cause unneeded stretching.This may later lead to problems such as:
An episiotomy may help to prevent these problems.
Home Care and Complications
What happens later at home?
Keeping the area clean is the key to preventing infectionand to helping speed healing. The stitches will dissolve after a period oftime and do not need to be removed.
To help heal an episiotomy, a woman should:
A woman should see her doctor for follow-up visits to checkon how the episiotomy is healing.
What are the potential complications after the procedure?
Very rarely, an episiotomy may extend into the rectum.More stitches than usual would be required to repair the cut. The increasedrisks of this problem are:
Article type: xmedgeneral