Pregnant women can have many concerns when it comes to giving birth, these can be both big and small. The whole experience is so new to a first-time mum, and there is so many different things that can happen.
Pregnant women can have many concerns when it comes to giving birth, these
can be both big and small. The whole experience is so new to a first-time mum,
and there is so many different things
that can happen. Today we are looking at the episiotomy,
and answering all your basic questions.
Some of the bigger worries about labour can include the level of pain
you have to go through, as well as just hoping the baby comes out healthy and
without complications. Some women may be concerned that a caesarean section is a possibility, if they have always had a natural birth planned.
I remember one midwife telling me during a particularly long labour;
‘Don’t worry, they always eventually come out.’ That piece of advice was really
reassuring at that time because I honestly thought my baby son would never
leave the womb.
Some of the smaller worries we
have about labour may include:
I’m afraid of needles – I don’t really want to have one
What do I wear while giving birth?
Can my partner stay in the room?
Will they let me play my own music or burn my candles?
What if I poop while trying to push my baby out?
Many women may be concerned about having to have an episiotomy. Let’s
look at what this is and what it can mean
What is an Episiotomy?
terms, an episiotomy, also known as perineotomy, is a surgical incision of the
perineum and the posterior vaginal wall. The perineum is the small piece of
tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus.
This is a minor and very common procedure that can happen during labour,
where your doctor will make an incision to help your baby with delivery. Episiotomy is usually performed during the second stage of labour to quickly make the
opening bigger for the baby to pass through.
If the baby seems to be in distress and
not coming out fast enough, but is
already in the birth canal and a caesarean is not suitable, an episiotomy can
be the best way to speed up birth.
can happen when:
The baby or his head is particularly
Forceps or suction is needed to get the
The baby is breech
The baby is running out of oxygen or his
heart rate rises
If you have been in labour for a long
time and have become too exhausted to
Sometimes an episiotomy is not necessary because this wall tears on its own during labour.
How it is fixed?
Your doctor will usually stitch the area up immediately after birth is
completed, with dissolvable stitches.
What does it feel like?
Your doctor will usually apply a local
anaesthetic to the area so that you won’t feel it. Many women report that
between contractions and everything else that is going on, you may not even
notice an episiotomy happening.
The area will ache and perhaps sting for several days after the
procedure, especially when you go to the toilet. You can try pouring warm water
on the area while urinating to stop some of the stinging,
or take stool softeners if pooing is causing discomfort.
You can take over the counter anti-inflammatory
medication to reduce the pain. You can also use medicated pads or cold packs on
the area to numb the area and provide some relief.
A good natural relief involves placing a cool witch hazel pad in the
area. Some lavender essential oil rubbed into the area may also help.
How long does it take to heal?
An episiotomy takes around a month to heal. You may feel some pain and weakness
around the area for this time.
It shouldn’t affect your ability to lift your baby, as recovering from
a caesarean section can, but you may find walking long distances tires you out.
Standing and sitting can also be uncomfortable for a while.
What are the possible
Sometimes the more severe episiotomy can take longer to heal, and may
cause pain and discomfort during sex in the months following your baby’s birth.
Some mothers also have trouble with faecal
incontinence after having to have this procedure.
Some women may have the area become infected. If the area doesn’t
appear to be healing on time, or if you develop a fever or the wound starts to
weep with a yellowish discharge this could be a sign of infection.
It is better to have an episiotomy
or a tear?
In the old days, it was thought
to be better to have an episiotomy than a natural tear. Whether one is better
or worse really depends on the individual circumstances, however, and in many cases, a tear can be smaller and heal better than an episiotomy.
Can you avoid having to have an
Episiotomies aren’t as common today as they used to be, and are only
recommended in certain circumstances now. However, you may not be able to avoid
one completely; in the moment your doctor
will either recommend one or not. For the safety of the baby, it is advisable to go along with this recommendation.
You can start perineal massage in the last 6 weeks of your pregnancy
which may help the area to stretch when the time comes.
Perineal massage is an easy five-minute
massage that you give to the area using a lubricant to help the perineum get
ready for stretching. For full instructions on how to do
this see here.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.