Welcome to ParentWeb! Learn more

Do You Have To Have an Episiotomy?

One of the things women worry about during the birthing process is having an episiotomy.

An episiotomy is when a doctor makes a surgical incision in your peritoneum (the area between your vagina and anus) to allow the opening of your vagina to expand to accommodate your baby’s head. The incision is repaired with stitches after the baby is delivered.

The thought by the medical community is an episiotomy is easier on your body than if the vagina rips and tears naturally during childbirth. Tears are thought to be harder to repair, while an episiotomy is straight and easier to repair.

If you already have an epidural, no other medication will be necessary for the incision. If not, you’ll be given a local anesthetic for the incision and repair (usually stitches).

Episiotomy Rates Drop 
The good news is doctors are less quick to perform an episiotomy as in years past. A news release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states research doesn’t support the routine use of episiotomy in routine birth cases. However, it’s thought an episiotomy is useful under certain circumstances. For example, in cases where the baby is stressed and delivery needs to be hastened, an episiotomy helps to widen the birth canal to allow for measures to be taken.

How to Avoid an Episiotomy 
There are steps you can take to help avoid an episiotomy. First, talk to your doctor and let your wishes be known, if you’re against having one done. Make sure you eat healthy foods and keep yourself hydrated, as healthy skin stretches and conforms easier than unhealthy, dry skin. Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor so your muscles are strong for pushing. During labor, you can have your partner give your peritoneum area warm compresses to help relax the area so it stretches easier. Consider trying a different position to push your baby out into the world than lying on your back, if you’re able.

There’s nothing to fear from having an episiotomy. Yes, it can be painful and the healing process slower than if there no incision. However, knowing the about the process can help you prepare in the event that it’s needed. Talk to your doctor at your next visit about this procedure, to get all of the facts.

General Introduction to Pregnancy
Your Changing Body + Pregnancy
Your Baby’s Development
Potential Pregnancy Complications
Labor and Delivery
View all 
General Introduction to Parenting
Child Nutrition
Childcare and Education
Sleep in the Early Years
Baby Milestones
View all 


Expecting a baby or new to parenting? We're here to help!
Join our community and find support, get answers to questions and make friends from all over the world!


Want to stay informed on news from ParentWeb?

Get useful advice, information, and practical parenting tips from ParentWeb in your email inbox every week!


Follow your baby's growth, right from your desktop!
Our Baby Tracker lets you learn more about what's happening each week - from pregnancy to


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Track your baby's progress -
the quick, fun and easy way!
Get your FREE ParentWeb Baby ticker!

About Us       |       Contact Us       |       Forum       |       Affiliates       |       Site Map       |       Terms of Use       |       Privacy Policy
 Copyright © 2010 ParentWeb Inc. All rights reserved.