An episiotomy is an incision done between the vagina and the rectum to increase the size of the vagina opening and make the delivery of the baby easy.
Usually doctors perform a lateral or a straight cut. The cut do not involve the rectum muscles. The gynecologist inject local anesthesia in the area before cutting.
Long time ago, episiotomy was done systematically during each delivery. Nowadays, episiotomy is performed when necessary and if there is a high risk of lacerations. Women might need episiotomy in case of:
Baby stress during labor
Extensive vaginal tearing
Abnormal position of the baby.
What are the benefits of an episiotomy?
It decreases vaginal trauma and tearing
Speeds up the birth of your baby
Protects against incontinence
Heals easier than tears
What are the side effects of an episiotomy?
Can I prevent an episiotomy?
You can prepare your skin during pregnancy to loosen up and stretch your muscles which helps to prevent the episiotomy. Here are some tips to follow:
Massage your perineum muscles at least twice a week with vitamin E.
Do your pelvic floor exercise, Kegels exercises.
Have a good nutrition rich in fiber.
How to heal from an episiotomy?
After delivery, the gynecologist will repair the cut with stitches which will be absorbed on their own. You do not need to remove the stitches afterwards. The episiotomy might cause discomfort during the first few days and takes about 4 weeks to heal completely. Follow the below instructions to fasten the healing process:
Keep it clean. Always wash with water and soap every time you use the toilet.
Dry it very well. You may also use a hair dryer. This technique will help the stitches to be absorbed quickly.
Eliminate constipation. Drink lots of fluid and have a diet rich in fiber. You can use a clean pad to hold the wound while stretching during bowel movement.
During urination, pour water to eliminate the sting sensation.
Check for any sign of infections (pain, swelling, hot). Call your doctor if you suspect any problem.
To ease the pain during the first days, you may apply ice pads on the wound area to reduce swelling.
Always discuss with your doctor about the techniques he uses during delivery. Ask him about the benefits and complications. It will make you more relaxed to go into labor knowing what decisions would be better for you and your baby.