Do You Need an Episiotomy?
There are cases where an episiotomy can be beneficial: to hasten the delivery of a baby in trouble, ease a breech birth, enlarge a too-tight vaginal opening, or prevent painful tearing toward the front of the vagina.
But most of the time, with local massage and control of the delivery, the vaginal tissue will stretch and then return to normal on its own. And if natural tears occur, they typically require less extensive stitching than an episiotomy.
A review of existing studies published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that not only is the procedure performed too frequently, but that benefits doctors have long attributed to routine episiotomy -- including that it helps women heal faster by reducing tearing and prevents brain damage to the baby by reducing labor time -- appear not to be true.