Standing Up For You

Avoiding an episiotomy may prevent vaginal tearing

Delivering a baby is one of the medical miracles of a woman’s body. However, women often do suffer severe tearing during delivery. This may cause pain and take a long time to heal. One way doctors sought to prevent this, in the past, was to create an incision where a tear might occur. However, new studies suggest that may not work at all. 

In fact, one WebMD article explains that it may actually make it worse. The medical practitioner who contributed to the article recommended that women avoid the procedure altogether to reduce the risks associated with vaginal tearing. 

Risks of an episiotomy

In the past, doctors believed that relieving pressure with the incision would create more room for easy delivery. However, recent studies suggest that it merely makes it easier for tears to occur. There are certain instances when an episiotomy may become necessary, but mothers may wish to decline this procedure when they can. Because of recent findings over the past few decades, the practice has declined by 75%. 

What might work instead

Medical professionals say that mineral oil lubricants may do a much better job of helping women deliver babies without vaginal tearing. Other helpful measures include perineum massages and warm compresses while pushing. Ultimately, the baby’s position and the natural elasticity of a woman’s skin may play the biggest role in whether tearing occurs, but doctors’ actions may worsen the risks. 

Mayo Clinic shares that when women suffer vaginal tearing, pain is only one symptom. Some women may also have incontinence. Infections may also lead to wound discharge and fevers.