Episiotomy is an obstetric procedure sometimes performed during vaginal deliveries, in which a health care provider cuts the perineum to make more room for the baby’s head as it emerges. The procedure was at one point believed to be a better alternative to natural tearing that can occur during delivery. However, research found that it could actually cause more severe tears and lead to increased complications, including infection and incontinence. Over time, doctors began stepping back from its routine use. According to a new report from Journal of American Medical Association, the number of episiotomies is falling after major organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urged for restricted use of the procedure in the mid 2000’s.
“Research has long supported the judicious use of episiotomies, rather than performing them routinely. It’s discouraging how much time it has taken for the rate of routine episiotomies to go down in many areas given the evidence, but good to see that the numbers continue to decrease.” – Jocelyn, Ohana Founder / Doula / Childbirth Educator