Episiotomy can be avoided while delivering a baby. Read on to know how to prevent an episiotomy.
Preeti was in great labour pain. Doctors told her that her baby needs to be delivered quickly as it is lacking oxygen. Preeti had an episiotomy where the tissues between vagina and anus are cut in the midway. She had several stitches and it took almost two weeks for the wound to heal. During her second pregnancy she started prenatal perineal massage six weeks before her due date and she successfully avoided an episiotomy.
Episiotomy is a surgical cut in the perineum, an area between vagina and anus. Though episiotomy is unavoidable in certain cases of pregnancy, researchers and mid-wives believe that episiotomy can be prevented.
When does one need an episiotomy?
You may need an episiotomy mainly if there are chances of excessive vaginal tearing during delivery, if baby is in an abnormal position or your baby needs to be delivered quickly. Here are some reasons for why a doctor may perform an episiotomy.
If your baby's heart rates indicates that he is suffocating due to lack of oxygen and need to be delivered quickly
If your baby is overweight or large
If tears are likely to take place in several places while delivering a baby
If foetus is distressed after entering the birth canal
If there is not enough space around vagina to use forceps to pull out the baby
If the baby's shoulders get caught
Side effects of episiotomy
Many women undergo episiotomy while delivering a baby. Episiotomy could lead to serious side effects, thus various researches are being done on how to prevent an episiotomy. A woman can suffer from infection, bruising, swelling and bleeding post delivery. You may have to keep away from having sex for several weeks or even months due to painful scar after an episiotomy. Episiotomy can take a long time to heal. In severe cases a sexual intercourse can be painful for few days even after the wound is healed.
Avoiding an episiotomy
The first step to avoid unnecessary episiotomy is to discuss the issue with your health care provider. You should seek answers to your queries regarding child birth. An episiotomy can be prevented with few important techniques.
Massage the perineum
Perineal massage is one way to prevent tearing during delivery and to avoid episiotomy. One can start perineal massage for 5-10 minutes daily from 34th or 35th week of the pregnancy until labour. It is better to discus about perineal massage with your care provider before starting with it.
Trim your fingernails and wash your hands thoroughly before getting started with perineal massage. Find a private place and sit in a comfortable posture. Rub enough oil or lubricant on your fingers so that it will be easy to massage the perineal tissues and lower vaginal wall. You can use KY jelly, olive oil, vitamin E oil, almond oil or pure vegetable oil on your thumb or around the perineum for proper lubrication.
It is comfortable to use your thumb to do perineal massage. Insert your thumb into the vagina. Using gentle but firm pressure to massage the base and the side walls of the vagina, try making a 'U' shape. Massaging lower part of your vagina gently in an outward direction helps to stretch the tissues making them ready for child birth.
The other way to prevent episiotomy is practicing Kegel exercise. It is a pelvic floor exercise. Stopping and starting the flow of urine or tightening and relaxing the pelvic muscles are the basic forms of Kegel exercise. The stretching of the muscles gives good exercise to the perineum tissues thus preventing tears and episiotomy during child birth.
Healthy diet and deep breathing
Apart from perineal massage and Kegel exercise you need to intake good nutrition and follow a healthy diet. Controlling your breathing and pushing during pregnancy will make birth easy.
There are several cases where episiotomy is carried out without its requirement. Learning techniques to prevent an episiotomy is one of the important aspects of prenatal care to avoid trouble in the post pregnancy. Of course one may need to undergo episiotomy in severe cases where it is unavoidable. If you are planning a baby or if you are pregnant, have a word with your doctor and avoid unnecessary episiotomy.
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Have you ever undergone episiotomy? What preventions you took to avoid it? Do you know that you can prevent an episiotomy with some techniques?
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