An episiotomy is an incision made in the tissue between the vagina
and anus (perineum). It is sometimes done just before a baby's
head emerges from the birth canal to speed up delivery of the baby. The
incision is stitched up after delivery. Episiotomies are more commonly used
during first-time deliveries.
Routine episiotomy is not recommended. Experts
say that episiotomy:1
There are times when an episiotomy is urgently necessary. The
decision about whether to have an episiotomy cannot be made until delivery. If
your health professional decides that an episiotomy is necessary, it will be
just before delivery.
Rather than discuss episiotomy during delivery, it's a good idea to
go over it with your health professional at one of your prenatal visits.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2005).
The Use of Episiotomy in Obstetrical Care: A Systematic Review. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 112. Available online:
November 2, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.