|Can you explain about an episiotomy?
The perineum is the area between the rectum and the vagina.
During delivery of the baby this area undergoes a huge stretching
process, which sometimes results in tearing. Your doctor
may make a cut during the delivery in order to prevent the
tearing that takes place. This is called an episiotomy.
Generally the episiotomy will either be made in a straight
line between vagina and rectum. However, due to the very
slight risk of the cut opening up right into the rectum,
the cut can also be made at an angle.
Performance of the episiotomy is another area of ongoing
debate. There are doctors who are certain that cutting is
preferable to tearing, that the cut will generally be smaller
than any tear which would occur later, and that by cutting
they are reducing the pressure on the head of the baby.
However, the doctors who allow tearing are equally sure
that tearing will occur along natural weaknesses in the
perineum and that limits the damage, which in turn heals
quicker. Current research does not seem to indicate that
cutting is preferable. It may be useful to you to establish
your doctor’s ideas on episiotomy so that you have
some idea of what he will do should the situation arise.
But either way, there are situations which do call for an
episiotomy, such as a forceps or vacuum delivery, a very
large baby and a delivery where the baby is shoulder first.
You must trust your doctor to make the appropriate decision
should the necessity arise.