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Childbirth without episiotomy?

By January 1, 2009 - 6:23pm
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I am hoping to have my baby without having an episiotomy but most everyone I know ends up having one. If anyone out there has thoughts on this could you talk about your experience either way? Thank you

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Hi Cyndi,
From personal experience, I did not have an episiotomy and "tore" during vaginal delivery (no medication/drugs, although I wanted some!) I'm still glad I did not have an episiotomy as I read there can be more complications/infections when done routinely. Either way, you still need stitches and the area needs to heal. The entire area is sore for weeks, but hard to tell if the soreness is from one specific tear/cut or is from the overall childbirth...does it really matter?! It all hurts, anyways! I doubt I would have hurt any less with a doctor purposefully cutting the area, but my "tear" was not severe. This was honestly the least of my concerns, and I did not feel any tearing as it occurred...you can't really tell what's going on in one particular place because so much is going on everywhere! Hope this makes sense, as I may be too vague?

Lastly, most of the women I know who have given birth have NOT had an episiotomy. Interesting!

January 4, 2009 - 8:48pm
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In addition to what was mentioned to you above, I would also tell you to make sure you tell your doctors and nurses that an episiotomy should be used only if absolutely necessary.

Some doctors preform them automatically, if childbirth goes on "too long". Childbirth is often a naturally long and painful process. An episiotomy can often be a godsend in times of difficult birthing but many women who don't really need one end up with a terribly painful post-partum period, and in the case of a friend of mine, still is numb in the area of her episiotomy and her youngest child is 12.

So just make sure your medical team know that these procedure should not be a standard operating procedure, but in case of necessity only.

January 3, 2009 - 6:57am

Hi Cyndi, this is an excellent question as some women aren't aware there are alternatives to episiotomy.

But that is starting to change. In 2006, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines saying the procedure should no longer be routinely performed, and as a result the numbers have dropped.

A CNN article says many doctors are reportedly now reserving episiotomies for cases where the infant in distress. Still, about 25 percent of women in the U.S. have them.

Be sure to talk with your OB/GYN about your preference not to have an episiotomy and make sure it goes on your chart.

Also, practice your Kegels which exercise your vaginal muscles or perform perineal or pelvic-floor massages before and during labor.

Be sure to check out this article on practicing your Kegels.

Does this help?

January 2, 2009 - 7:37am

I personally don't have an opinion on this, as I've only had C-sections, however back when I was pregnant the second time around and hoping not to have a repeat C-section, I remember reading that massaging the perineum (area around the vagina) regularly as you get close to your due date can help. I think women use some kind of lotion or lubricant, but I'm not sure what kind. I'm sure an EmpowHer moderator will research this and let us know.

January 1, 2009 - 9:45pm
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