Everything You Need to Know About an EpisiotomyAn episiotomy is a common surgical procedure that's conducted in about 40% of the natural birthing deliveries in the United States. The procedure involves making an incision between the vagina and rectum in order to make the birthing process easier by allowing more room for the baby to be delivered. This common procedure usually doesn't cause serious risks and the recovery from episiotomy is fairly simple.
Conducting the Episiotomy
The episiotomy procedure is very fast and simple. If the mother in labor hasn't received any anesthesia prior to the procedure, anesthesia will be administered before the procedure begins. A small incision is made into the tissue between the vagina and rectum. In most cases, the incision doesn't extend into the muscles in the area. After the labor and delivery process is complete, the incision is closed using either stitches or staples.
Recovery from Episiotomy
Recovery from episiotomy usually only lasts four to six weeks without any complications occurring. During the recovery process, the incision needs to be kept clean. This involves cleaning before and after urination and bowel movements. If staples were used, they will need to be removed, as well as any stitches that do not self-dissolve.
Risks of Episiotomy
There are many risks associated with this medical procedure, but the risks are often rare and don't tend to cause permanent complications. The most common risks associated with the procedure are bleeding and infection at the incision site. Swelling of the area is common and is often relieved with ice. The closing of the incision can cause defects in the area, such as bulges and uneven scar tissue. Pain is common with the procedure and can be relieved with pain medications. Sexual dysfunction can occur but is usually short term.
Benefits of Episiotomy
An episiotomy has many benefits when used during the birthing process. The procedure reduces the amount of injury inflicted on the vaginal tissues during birth. It also allows the baby to be delivered quickly with less stress on the mother and baby. If an episiotomy is not conducted, tearing of the area is likely to occur.