Monday, February 18, 2013

Episiotomies


On January 17, 2013 the New York Times Blog printed an article by Jennifer Margulis "What You Don’t Know About Episiotomies Can Hurt You."

If you do not know what an episiotomy is, below is the definition:

An episiotomy is a surgical cut from the vagina to the anus, on the area of a woman’s body known as the perineum. Once routine, it continues to be a“common obstetrical procedure,” according to the authors of the 23rd edition of Williams Obstetrics, the 1,385-page manual that serves as a textbook for obstetricians.

Jennifer brilliantly has put together research about the risks associated with this once common procedure that for some OBs is still the norm. "Episiotomies are actually associated with more postoperative pain, a much greater likelihood of tears in the anus (ouch), and other complications. One study showed that women who had episiotomies were as much as six times more likely to report fecal or flatus incontinence than women who delivered with an intact perineum."

She goes on to inform use that:
"“Fifty percent of the episiotomies I’ve done were because my supervising staff wanted to go back to bed,” one obstetrician, who recently finished her residency, told me. This doctor has a colleague, an obstetrician in private practice, who “loves epis” and cuts them during almost every vaginal birth."

So just who is this procedure better for? Mom or doctor? The W.H.O. recommends that this procedure be done 10% or less of the time. In otherwords, it should not be used routinely and there is no medical reason for routine episotomies.

For the full article in the NYTimes click here.

For more information on childbirth education visit http://www.nycdoulaservice.com/childbirth-classes.html