An Episiotomy is a surgical incision to your perineum. My What? Your perineum is the tissue that connects your vaginal opening to your anus. (If you’re like me you didn’t even know the “proper” name for this area.) Sounds horribly uncomfortable.
There are two difficult cuts that can be made:
- A Midline: A vertical cut in the middle towards the anus
Pros: Easier to repair
Con: High risk of tear extending to anus
2. A Mediolateral: An angled cut
Pros: Decreased risk of tear extending to anus
Con: Typically more painful, and more difficult to repair
You may be wondering if you NEED to get this done. The answer is it is your choice. It was considered routine for a women to get to clipped and stitched up afterwards, now it is not always necessary.
How the heck do heal from this comfortably?
- You can use cold compresses to help with some relief.
- When urinating: When you leave the hospital you can ask for a Peri bottle, I’d ask for a few. When you are urinating use the Peri bottle and spray the area of the incision to help dilute the urine.
- When having a bowel movement: You can use counter pressure to avoid stretching. Take a pad or whatever feels best and apply light pressure when passing.
- Sit carefully: find a chair that works for you and avoid sudden movements (difficult to do if you have other children). If you have a boppy use that as a seat for yourself.
- Support: Make sure you have a good support system in place. I know it can be difficult to ask for help, but when you need it reach out to your trusted friends and family.
If you would rather avoid this procedure you can practice Perineal Massage during the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you can also utilize warm compresses during labor, or taking a warm bath to help the muscles relax.
A lot of women feel they would rather tear naturally if they are going too, however it is best to consider how high and how far back the natural tear can go. It is recommended to talk with your healthcare provider to see under what circumstances it is recommended. You can also ask what the providers Episiotomy rate is.