Episiotomy – Everything you need to know

How to avoid episiotomy

Episiotomy - Everything you need to know

What is an Episiotomy?

A surgical cut to your perineum (the muscular area between your vagina and your back passage) at the time of delivery is known as an Episiotomy. In case of an assisted birth or your vagina not stretching enough during birth helps the baby come out.

An episiotomy is not a routine procedure of delivery and will be suggested only if absolutely required. A tear in the area at the time of birth is likely to heal better as compared to a cut without complications. A cut which was not absolutely necessary could cause more harm than good.

You might be suggested an episiotomy if:

  • The baby is distressed and needs to come out quickly
  • You have been pushing for long
  • You require an assisted birth
  • The baby is in breech position and needs to be born by assisted breech delivery.
  • Your gynaecologist feels you might have a serious tear

How to avoid Episiotomy

To avoid having an episiotomy you could:

  • During the final phase of the pregnancy, try massaging the perineum area to reduce risks of episiotomy and ease perineal pain.
  • During labour, use various relaxation techniques to reduce risks of an assisted delivery.
  • Also during labour try being on your side or being in an upright position if you are comfortable with it.

Episiotomy Healing

Recovering from an episiotomy can be quite painful and slow and you will need pain-relief medication for some time. Ideally in a couple of weeks your wound should heal and the stitches should dissolve completely.

To ensure the faster episiotomy healing follow these tips:

  1. Keep the perineum area clean and dry - Remember, your vaginal area is supposed to be naturally self-lubricating. Unfortunately at this time, this could result in the buildup of bacterial and lead to infection. To prevent infections, use soft cotton towels to wipe clean the area very cautiously each time you use the restroom to relieve yourself.
  2. Take your medication on time - Episiotomy could be very painful and the one thing that can keep you comfortable is having your doctor recommended pain medications on time.
  3. Be careful when you move around: Sitting down and getting up should be done with great amount of deliberation when your episiotomy is still healing. This is because any jerky movements could send out stinging pains in your nether areas.
  4. Use sanitary napkins: Even if your vaginal bleeding has stopped, you should continue to use pads till the time the episiotomy has healed so that any extra blood is absorbed.
  5. Keep your nails trimmed: This is extremely important not just to keep infections at bay, but also to ensure that your long nails do not hurt your perineum while you reach out to apply medication and clean yourself.
  6. Make use of ice-packs down under: Cold packs are tried and tested ways to deal with surgical wounds, especially in the private areas. They give a lot of comfort and soothes the area. .
  7. Avoid constipation by consuming fibre rich foods: Excessive pressure during bowel movements could make the wound become painful. Make sure you have foods rich in fibre such that constipation is avoided.