The fear of Episiotomy and Tearing!
“I’m so scared about being cut (episiotomy) and tearing!”
So what is an episiotomy?
It is a surgical cut intended to widen the vaginal opening; and the prospect of having this very delicate area ‘cut’ can be a very scary concept for a woman!
So, let’s explore the subject further so that we are armed with knowledge and can make informed decisions should the need arise during birth.
Clinically unwarranted episiotomies can cause pain, laceration and more serious perineal trauma (when the cut extends). Natural tears tend to heal more quickly and be less painful.
More than 20 years of research indicates that episiotomies should never be a routine practice and that a restrictive policy is best. The World Health Organisation recommends episiotomy rates of below 10%.
In the article Episiotomy During Childbirth: Not Just a ‘Little Snip’ (The Conversation), Professor Hannah Dahlen says,
But despite international health bodies advocating a restrictive rather than routine approach to the procedure, episiotomy rates remain high among women who give birth in private hospitals in many countries – including Australia.
How to reduce the likelihood of tearing during birth:
However, there are things that you can do to prevent the likelihood of having an episiotomy and reduce the likelihood of tearing during birth.
- Your position for birthing
- Adequate nutrition through pregnancy
- Using breathing techniques learnt in the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth Program
- Warm compresses on the perineum
- Perineal massage during the last weeks of pregnancy using lubricant like vitamin E oil, almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil
- Listen to your body’s urges to push
- Your choice of caregiver can also make a big difference.
It is important to note that you always have the right to refuse any procedure.
Here is the link to a great article that explains more about episiotomies and explores the risks and alternatives to the procedure.
Preparation is the key to success. This is why we at Hypnobirthing Australia are so passionate about providing evidence based, positive, practical and high quality childbirth education.
It is always better to be proactive – rather than reactive. ?
Knowledge is power; and the power is always with you, mama!