For many years, it was thought that an episiotomy helps to avert bigger vaginal tears during childbirth. It was also believed that these incisions heal better as compared to a natural tear. Today, more studies in the field of medicine suggest that episiotomies, which were standard during birth don’t prevent these issues and on the other hand make recovery uncomfortable. It was also pointed out that sometimes the cut is wider than a natural tear would have been which can lead to infection in that area. For a lot of women who had an episiotomy during childbirth, they felt pain while having sex after delivery. Once a routine part of the delivery process, an episiotomy is now performed only in certain cases. Read on to learn 8 useful tips to increase the elasticity of your perineum and avoid having an episiotomy.
What Is Episiotomy?
Episiotomy is an incision made on the perineum which is a tissue that extends from the vagina right to the anus. This is normally done in the second stage of labor which is the pushing stage in order to help the baby pass through the birth canal easily and quickly. An episiotomy helps to widen the vaginal opening thus making childbirth easy. It is usually done in case of an assisted vaginal delivery or if there are any signs of fetal distress. Unless there is any specific underlying reason for conducting an episiotomy, a good doctor avoids it at all costs.
When Does An Episiotomy Become Inevitable?
However, an episiotomy become inevitable in some of the following cases:
Severely rapid second stage of labor
Some kind of fetal distress or compression of the umbilical cord during the second stage of labor
The vagina gets torn in the top portion around the urethra
Traces of meconium in your amniotic fluid
Epidural birth where the mom to be is unable to push effectively and needs vacuum extraction or forceps
Actual “cephalo –pelvic disproportion” during the second stage of labor where the fetus is too big to come out through the mother’s pelvis
However in the normal circumstances, an episiotomy is best averted. Given below are some wonderful tips on how you can prevent an episiotomy.
8 Tips To Avoid An Episiotomy
Pick a doctor who does not conduct routine episiotomies: This is a big factor if you want to avoid an episiotomy. When choosing your doctor or midwife, find out what his or her episiotomy rate is. Go for a doctor who you will be extremely comfortable with and does not have any history of performing routine episiotomies
Opt for an upright birthing position: Although everyone feels that lying on your back is the best position to give birth, it is not so. Maintaining an upright position is found to be more effective in pushing and helping the baby to navigate its way out. When you try giving birth in an upright posture, there are more chances of averting episiotomy or any kind of assisted birth
Take an informed decision about medicinal pain relief: Most people decide to opt for an epidural during the pushing stage of delivery. However this lowers the urge to push that may automatically raise the chances of assisted vaginal birth that normally includes episiotomy. So suppose you select an epidural make sure that you ask your doctor to lower the dose of epidural in your second stage of labor as it helps you to be more aware of pain. This automatically makes you push harder. This in turn will reduce the chances of assisted birth and an episiotomy
Have a water birth: It would be an excellent move to go for a water birth. When you remain immersed in water, your tissues are warm and soaked that make them pliable and softer. It has been found that women who make use of the birthing pool do not tear much and significantly decreases the chances of an episiotomy. So if you have the option available, go for a water birth
Ask for perineal support: It would be a good move to request your birthing assistant to provide support to your perineum with a warm compress while you are pushing. It has been found to be extremely effective in preventing tearing and also facilitate better stretching of tissues. If the tissues are permitted to stretch slowly and when supported with warm compress, the chances of having an episiotomy are lowered to a great extent
Be patient while pushing: Patience is key during birthing. Providing the mom and baby enough time to give birth if the labor is progressing well can surely help to reduce the chances of any kind of birthing support or interventions. So ensure that you have enough patience and allow your labor progress gradually. Listening to your body and pushing with the urge often provides best outcome of childbirth. If you hurry through pushing, then it can increase the risk of tearing and the doctor may feel the need for an episiotomy to prevent bigger tear
Exercise properly during your pregnancy period: Ensure that you get proper exercise during pregnancy period with specific training for childbirth. This will help in preventing episiotomy. Keeping in great shape during pregnancy will give you the strength and stamina to effectively push in second stage labor. Exercises that are safe during pregnancy will give you great pushing technique and control. Kegel exercises and squatting are strongly recommended to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and prevent tearing thus also reducing the chances of an episiotomy
Good nutritious diet: A healthy and nutritious diet rich in Omega 6 and Omega 3 is absolutely imperative to aid in the preparation of a perineum to stretch flexibly during labor. Also it is very necessary to keep yourself well hydrated. This will also help avert episiotomy to an extent
Childbirth is unpredictable. But being informed and active participant during the whole process can help to reduce the chances of an episiotomy.
Were you able to avoid an episiotomy during delivery? What did you do to avoid an episiotomy? Please leave your experience in the comments section below.