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EPISIOTOMY

December 3, 2020

When you visit your gynaecologist for regular check-ups

during your pregnancy, you will (or should) discuss options to deliver your baby. During these discussions, your doctor could say that Episiotomy might be employed during delivery. Don’t let the medical jargon scare you, because an episiotomy is a simple surgical incision used to enlarge the vaginal opening to help deliver a baby. It is not considered in every surgery, but only when the doctor feels that it is required for the baby to slide out of the birth canal without any complications.

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WHEN IS EPISIOTOMY REQUIRED?

During normal delivery towards the end, whilst you are pushing, your doctor might consider assisting you with an episiotomy for the following reasons:

  • When the birth is imminent but the perineum (the area between your vagina and rectum) hasn’t had time to stretch slowly
  • The baby’s head is too large for the vaginal opening
  • The baby is in distress
  • The doctor has to use forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist the baby’s birth
  • The baby is in a breech presentation and there is a complication during delivery
  • The mother isn’t able to control her pushing

HOW AN EPISIOTOMY IS PERFORMED

Women who have opted for epidural during their delivery might not need more anaesthesia. However, local anaesthesia called ‘Pudendal Block’ is given in the perineum of those who have a normal delivery. This medication relieves pain in this region. Therefore, the mother will not feel much pain as the doctor eases the baby out of the vagina after the episiotomy.

Now you must be wondering whether the episiotomy will mean a big painful cut? Worry not! During episiotomy, the doctor performs a midline cut straight down into the perineum, between the vagina and anus. This mediolateral cut is angled down away from the vagina and the perineum, into the muscle.After your baby’s birth, your doctor will advise certain measures that will ease your pain and help the healing after this procedure. They are simple acts you can do in the comfort of your home.

However, to discuss the procedure of episiotomy well in advance with your doctor. It will put you at ease, which is most important when you are expecting.

You Would Also Like To Read: All You Need To Know About The Umbilical Stump

AVOIDING AND DEALING WITH EPISIOTOMY

Have you heard the saying ‘A stitch in time saves nine’? No other adage can be better applied to episiotomy than this one. It is literally a nip at the right time that can protect your baby during delivery!

Myths The following myths associated with episiotomy as benefits appear untrue.

  • It helps in faster healing
  • Reduces Tearing
  • Save the baby from a brain damage

PREVENTING THE NEED FOR EPISIOTOMY

However, if you would like to avoid an episiotomy, here are some measures that can reduce its need during delivery:

  • Good nutrition: Eat healthy, nutritious food as prescribed by your doctor or dietician. It will keep your skin healthy and healthy skin stretches more easily!
  • Kegels exercises: Don’t underestimate the power of Kegels exercises. These strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which play a crucial role during delivery.

EASING THE PAIN

Are you concerned that an episiotomy will mean a big painful cut that will take long to heal? That is not necessarily true. In case you have an episiotomy during your delivery, and feel some discomfort later, try these solutions to help ease the pain.

  • Cold Packs: You can apply cold packs on the perineum (the area between your vagina and rectum) to soothe the area. Ask your health care provider about special maxi sanitary pads that have built-in cold packs
  • Sitz bath: Take a Sitz bath twice a day. It is a small and shallow portable bath, which you can place over a toilet seat. The swirling water will give relief from pain or itching in the genital area.
  • Use medication such as Tucks Medicated Pads.
  • Use a personal lubricant such as KY Jelly when you resume sexual intercourse.
  • After using the bathroom, wash yourself with a squirt bottle instead of wiping. Patting dry, instead of wiping, can also help.

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RISKS INVOLVED

  • Might Lead to large tearing post an episiotomy as the incision made can reach the anus.
  • Episiotomy cuts through all the layers of the tissue, A lot of blood loss might happen.
  • Would lead to the weakening of pelvic floor muscles, causing wear and tear.
  • The stitches might end up causing bacterial infection.
  • Episiotomy might also result in discomfort for a couple of months post-delivery during intercourse.
  • Might as well lead to Urinary/ Faecal Incontinence

Do consult your medical practitioner for any such options.

Must Read: Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy What To Expect

Want to consult the best gynecologists in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Gynecologists in Bangalore
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  5. Best Obstetricians & Gynecologists in Chandigarh
  6. Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists near me in Gurgaon
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Want to consult the best Maternity Packages in India? Please find the links below.

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