“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 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 Organization 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.
However, there are things that you can do to prevent the likeliness of having an episiotomy.
Your position for birthing, adequate nutrition through pregnancy and using the breathing techniques that you learn from the Hypnobirthing Australia Course can all be of great benefit. Hot compresses have been shown to reduce the chances of tearing and episiotomy. Some studies have found perineal massage to be of benefit (particularly for first time mums). 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.
Knowledge is power; and the power is always with you, mama!