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All You Need to Know about Episiotomy

Medbuzztoday Editorial Team | September 8, 2017 | 0 Comments


Highlights:

  1. Episiotomy refers to the surgically planned incision made in the region between the posterior vaginal wall and the anus to facilitate the delivery of the baby
  2. Ayurvedic doctors, on the other hand, believe that this procedure could be avoided for it causes a lot of harm to the woman
  3. Episiotomy is performed only in a few circumstances
  4. Episiotomy must be carried out cautiously. A minor flaw in the act causes bleeding as well as immense tearing of certain tissues and muscles

Episiotomy is to:

  1. Enlarge the vaginal introitus so as to facilitate easy and safe delivery.
  2. Minimize overstretching and rupture of perineal muscles.

A normal vaginal delivery is often termed to be the best form of child birth. However, there have been instances when the process appears to be more tedious than expected. It is during situations like these that experts resort to a procedure called episiotomy. While in some cases it is performed by the doctor, there have been instances when mid-wives were assigned the task to do so.

Quick facts

Episiotomy refers to the procedure by which a cut is made in the region between the vagina and the anus to facilitate the delivery of the baby. In most cases, the cut is made a few minutes before the baby’s head comes out of the birth canal.

There are predominantly two types of episiotomies.

They are:

  1. Midline Episiotomy: The incision, during this procedure, is made in the center of the vagina. This is recommended in rare circumstances. The procedure ought to be carried out only after the mother has been given an adequate dose of anesthesia.
  2. Mediolateral Episiotomy: The incision, during this procedure, is made on the sides of the vagina. Most often, the cut is made a few minutes before the delivery at an angle of 45 degrees.

What does research state?

Studies have shown that selective episiotomies or cases where the procedure was performed only when needed have fewer women suffering from perineal trauma as opposed to those who must undergo the procedure due to “standard protocol”.

Ayurvedic doctors, on the other hand, believe that this procedure could be avoided for it causes a lot of harm to the woman. According to the Ayurvedic texts, a strict diet regime and perineum massages or even exercises (Eg: Kegel Exercises) could help ensure a less painful and normal delivery of the child.

When should a woman consider undergoing episiotomy?

Episiotomy is, mostly, performed only in the following circumstances:

  1. The heart rate of the baby is said to be lower than expected. This could imply that the baby lacks oxygen.
  2. The scan reports suggest that the baby’s feet and buttocks are likely to come out first. Normally, it is the baby’s head that comes out first.
  3. There isn’t sufficient space around the vagina to use forceps.
  4. The baby’s head and shoulders are big and cannot come out of the vagina.
  5. The baby is a preterm baby.

The other side of episiotomy

Episiotomy must be carried out cautiously. A minor flaw in the act could lead to various health concerns. This includes bleeding as well as immense pain during sex. Most importantly, there are chances of certain tissues and muscles tearing – especially the rectal tissue and the anal sphincter muscle. This muscle controls the passing of stools. The region may also be swollen for a short period.

Things to remember

It is advised that one does not rush into such procedures. On the other hand, it would be wiser to encourage a woman to consult her physician and gather as much information about the procedure before giving her consent for the same.

A few other facts that the woman ought to remember are:

  1. Talk to your doctor about the medication that has been taking and of the substances or drugs that you are allergic to. Don’t hesitate to talk about alternative methods if you are not confident about the same. You could also consider seeking a ‘second-opinion’ about the procedure as well.
  2. The doctor stitches up the cut upon the completion of the procedure. In case of any instances of discomfort, pain or uneasiness, consult your doctor immediately.
  3. You could use ice-packs, medicated creams or other prescribed medication to reduce the pain and swelling at the incision site.
  4. Warm or cold bathing sessions could also help ease the soreness and ensure a speedy recovery.

So, fear not. Be wise and enjoy every stage of motherhood.

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Category: FEATURED ARTICLES, HEALTH A-Z

Author : (Medbuzztoday Editorial Team)

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