Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Pregnancy 6) Episiotomy

An episiotomy is an incision that is made between the bottom edge of the vagina and the anus. The procedure is performed before the baby is delivered. The episiotomy allows more room for the baby's head as it passes through the birth canal. It also prevents tearing of the vaginal wall as it stretches during delivery.

The decision to perform an episiotomy is based on the size of the infant's head and the risk for a vaginal tear. A vaginal tear can be serious, and may extend into the rectum. The episiotomy is performed after numbing medicine is injected into the lower part of the vagina. The incision is then repaired with stitches after the delivery. Women who have delivered vaginally in the past are less likely to require episiotomy.

Continue to Pregnancy 7) Forceps

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Pregnancy References
  1. Blenning CE, Paladine H. An approach to the postpartum office visit. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Dec 15;72(12):2491-6. [16370405]
  2. Condous GS, Arulkumaran S. Medical and conservative surgical management of postpartum hemorrhage. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2003 Nov;25(11):931-6. [14608443]
  3. Magann EF, Evans S, Hutchinson M, Collins R, Lanneau G, Morrison JC. Postpartum hemorrhage after cesarean delivery: an analysis of risk factors. South Med J. 2005 Jul;98(7):681-5. [16108235]
  4. Malamitsi-Puchner A, Boutsikou T. Adolescent pregnancy and perinatal outcome. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2006 Jan;3 Suppl 1:170-1. [16641854]
  5. Nanda K, Peloggia A, Grimes D, Lopez L, Nanda G. Expectant care versus surgical treatment for miscarriage. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;(2):CD003518. [16625583]
  6. Ozkaya O, Sezik M, et al. Placebo-controlled randomized comparison of vaginal with rectal misoprostol in the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2005 Oct;31(5):389-93. [16176505]
  7. Tierney JP, Welsh J, Owen P; Effective Gynaecology in Glasgow Group. Management of early pregnancy loss--a complete audit cycle. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Apr;26(3):229-32. [16736559]
  8. Vitzthum VJ, Spielvogel H, Thornburg J, West B. A prospective study of early pregnancy loss in humans. Fertil Steril. 2006 Aug;86(2):373-9. [16806213]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.