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Study Says Birth Cut Rarely Helps


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Women who undergo an episiotomy to aid childbirth or to prevent tearing at the vaginal opening often get no benefit from the procedure and they may be harmed by it, researchers said Tuesday.

Women whose vaginal opening is enlarged surgically during childbirth can suffer rectal injuries. The procedure also may delay the healing process and does not prevent incontinence, a report summarizing the findings of 26 previous studies said.

About one-third of U.S. mothers have an episiotomy during childbirth However, some doctors and hospitals use the procedure on as many as three-quarters of women giving birth, the report said.

Doctors usually make a 3/4 - to 1- 1/2 -inch cut in an effort to ease the emergence of the fetus and to prevent uncontrolled tearing of the perineum, the area below the vaginal opening. However, the researchers said such tears would usually not be as long as the surgical cut and, in some cases, the perineum would have remained intact.

Lead author Dr. Katherine Hartmann of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote that episiotomies could be reduced to less than 15% of U.S. births if confined to cases of fetal distress.

"Our systematic review finds no benefits from episiotomy," she wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. "Clinicians must acknowledge that little, if any, evidence is available to define indications for use; however, it is clear that maternal benefit is not an indication."

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Ouch Ouch Ouch

As if its not going to be bad enough they wanna cut you first
No thankyou, I'll stick to doing it naturally

* shudders*
The way it is - is that previously they thought that an episiotomy was better than letting you tear naturally as it reduced the risk of serious tearing.

But as my soon to be tutor told us at uni - this is no longer the case, they should now only cut if absolutely necessary and they've reconsidered their stance and now believe that in fact it's better to let you tear naturally.

However, if a mum to be is concerned all she has to do is note in her birthplan that she does not want an episiotomy and her midwife should abide by her wishes.

I had a natural second degree tear and needed 2 stitches but am absolutely fine!