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Sometimes during a vaginal birth, the baby needs a wider opening to exit the birth canal. To help ensure a quick and complication-free delivery, your doctor may widen the vaginal opening using a procedure called an episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum, the tissue between the vagina and anus.
At Dignity Health Central California, skilled obstetricians may perform an episiotomy to facilitate a smooth birthing experience for both you and your baby. Find a Doctor with Dignity Health near you to discuss labor and delivery, including the possibility of an episiotomy, in Central California.
Episiotomies were once routine procedures. Now, doctors only recommend them when they reduce delivery-related complications.
Your doctor may recommend an episiotomy if:
You may be able to avoid an episiotomy. Warm compresses and massages before and during labor can soften the skin so it stretches better during delivery.
This procedure is always performed after you’ve been given an epidural or other numbing medication. You won’t feel the doctor making the incision, but you might feel some pressure.
An episiotomy is usually performed during the second stage of labor after your doctor determines it is necessary for a smoother delivery.
After an episiotomy, it’s normal for the perineum area to feel sore and sensitive. This may last for the first few weeks after birth. Your care team will provide support to ease your discomfort while you’re in the hospital.
Follow these tips to care for your incision at home:
Talk to your Dignity Health Central California doctor about the benefits and risks of having an episiotomy.
Obstetrics and maternity services at Dignity Health Central California include episiotomies in Bakersfield, Merced, and Stockton, CA.