When Do I Need An Episiotomy?

by Jill Di Donato

Recent changes in the medical community have made episiotomies a less frequent medical procedure during childbirth. Still, if you're planning on having a vaginal delivery, it's totally valid to wonder, exactly when do I need an episiotomy?

Routine episiotomies are a thing of the past, noted Mayo Clinic. Because there are always exceptions when it comes to medical procedures, where complications can arise unexpectedly, (childbirth is no different) there are some times when an episiotomy is unavoidable, or so said a recent article in The New York Times. If severe vaginal tearing appears likely, a physician may make the incision him or herself to the area that spans the vagina and anus. If your baby is in an especially weird position, a physician might perform an episiotomy. If your baby is really big, your physician might suggest an episiotomy to prevent vaginal lacerations that might not heal as well as a surgical cut, according to Mayo Clinic. Finally, Parents noted that if a woman or baby is in distress and your baby needs to be delivered immediately, a physician might have no other choice than to perform this procedure.

Parents recommended that as part of your birth plan, you should discuss the possibility of having an episiotomy and what your doctor's and hospital's rate is for the procedure, so an unexpected bill doesn't take you by surprise. And, of course you should bring up your feelings about the procedure so that your physician isn't hearing them for the first time during your labor.

Preventative measures against the possibility of an episiotomy include the practice of pelvic floor exercises or kegels throughout pregnancy as well as massage and warm compresses applied to the perineum during second stage labor, according to Mayo Clinic. However, if an episiotomy is unavoidable, be sure to care for this procedure postpartum in order to prevent infection and speed up your recovery, so you can concentrate on your brand new addition.