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Dr Bryan Kenny expert answers powered by Healthshare

An episiotomy is a procedure that may be performed during the vaginal delivery of a baby. In this, local anaesthetic is instilled and a small cut is made to widen a woman’s vaginal opening. This is done to assist with the birth of the baby. An episiotomy is usually done if the baby shows signs of distress (the baby’s heart rate increases or decreases abnormally before birth). This can mean that the baby is not getting enough oxygen and has to be delivered quickly to lessen the risk of any injury to the brain due to less oxygen. 

Another reason to do an episiotomy procedure is when specific instruments have to be used to help in labour, like the use of a vacuum device or forceps.

An episiotomy may also be performed in the following cases:

      breech birth (i.e., the baby is not head first)

      prolonged pregnancy, when you have been trying to give birth for several hours and are now exhausted

      suffering from a severe health condition, such as heart disease, this may call for a need for an episiotomy to decrease the time of delivery and excessive stress on the body

There is no evidence or place for a “routine” episiotomy. Episiotomy should only be performed if it is in the best interests of the mother and baby and always with consent.

Road to recovery from episiotomy:

The episiotomy incision is usually repaired within an hour of the baby’s birth. The incision might bleed when its made, but with proper pressure and stitching, the blood loss can be minimal.The repair is usually with sutures that are self-dissolving, so there is no need to go back to the hospital to remove them. They should heal within one month of the delivery should always talk to your doctor and ask about what sort of activities should be avoided, which may hinder the healing process. It is normal to feel dsicomfort while walking or sitting after an episiotomy for up to 2 weeks.


You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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