Sunday, November 27, 2011

Main Topic Monday: Are You Really Better Off Getting an Episiotomy?

Many doctors will try to convince women that they are better off being cut than tearing, but this is simply NOT TRUE.

Doctors often say that it is better to have nice straight line than a jagged tear.  However, episiotomies are typically 2 to 4 INCHES in length, while tears are typically under an inch.  I'll take the ugly <1 inch tear over a pretty 3 inch cut anyday!

Another reason women are often given to have an episiotomy is to shorten the time spent pushing.  This I will admit, yes, it does shorten it... by maybe around 10 contractions which translates to only about 15 minutes.  This is not going to make much of a differences in the grand scheme of things considering by this time you have already been contracting for hours (maybe even days).

Women are also told that an episiotomy can help to prevent the baby's head from pounding on the perineum.  Let's think about this one though... the baby has already been making it's way through the cervix for hours which is a much more difficult journey than the vagina.

Some facilities even perform routine episiotomies! DO NOT buy into the hype, the overwhelming majority of episiotomies are completely unnecessary. 
Episiotomies are NOT fun, so avoid it if you can!

Here are just some of the problems and risks associated with episiotomies:
  • Can cause permanent damage to PC muscles
  • Can cause lingering pain that may continue for months (and in some cases years)
  • Creates scar tissue which can cause permanent numbness
  • Interferes with sex life
  • Due to the pressure on the perineum, the depth and length of the cut cannot always be controlled
  • Can get severely infected
For most women an episiotomy is unecessary and there is absolutely NO REASON to do it as a matter of routine. Discuss this with your doctor and make sure that they don't give routine episiotomies. 

You do not need an episiotomy and there are ways to avoid tearing all together. Come back on Friday when I will discuss the steps you can take to avoid tearing.

(Source: Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon)


Hannah said...

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Hannah @

Christy @ Insanity Is Not An Option said...
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Mommy LaDy Club said...

What great information...thank you! I'm looking forward to Friday's info now. I'm so glad I found you through Meaningful Mondays:)

Unknown said...

Hello. Found you on MBC and am now following. Would love a follow back at

Jacqueline said...

VERY good point!! I have fought my docs over this one for a very long time and it is SO nice to hear someone actually agree. Following you from Members to Remember VB!

Jinnia Low said...

Neat perspective, I hadn't heard this side of it before. I always thought of episiotomies as helping to minimize tearing, I've learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

SuperMomWannabe said...

no, no, no - not better off!! I had 2 with and then 2 without. Recover is a LOT more unnecessary pain with the large sewn-up slice, than without it!

TyKes Mom said...

This post is so true! Birthing is a passion of mine and I have done quite a bit of reading and research on the topic of episiotomies. It truly is a scary practice that is completely unnecessary. I strongly encourage all women to avoid them at all costs! Great post!

christymg said...

So true, I was adamant that I really did not want one when I had my son. Luckily, I delivered with midwives who did not even recommend this, no tearing and no stitches, walking around soon afterwards.

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