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An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum, the tissue between the vagina and anus, during a vaginal birth.
Dignity Health North State offers personal care to women in labor and delivery who need an episiotomy in Northern California. Find a Doctor to help you understand what to expect during childbirth and how you can prepare.
Most practitioners aim to avoid episiotomy when possible. Today episiotomies are relatively rare, occurring in 12 percent of vaginal births as of 2012. However, you may need one if:
You may be able to prevent an episiotomy by softening the tissue in your perineum so the vaginal opening stretches more easily. Ask your provider if you can try perineal massage at home in the weeks before your due date or use a warm compress and massage the perineal area during labor.
If you haven’t yet received an epidural, your doctor or midwife will numb the area by injecting local anesthetics.
Once the area is numb, your provider will make a small incision, either straight down or at a 45-degree angle. You won’t feel the cut, but you may feel pressure.
After birth, your provider will carefully close the episiotomy incision and repair other tearing.
After birth, your perineum will likely be sensitive and itch for a few weeks as it heals.
Doctors at Dignity Health North State will make your episiotomy go as smoothly as possible. At your postpartum checkup, your doctor will check your episiotomy incision to ensure it’s healing as expecting.
In the meantime, here are a few ways to decrease pain and help speed episiotomy healing:
Dignity Health North State offers comprehensive maternity care with humankindness including epidural for labor pain in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.