Home > Health Library > Episiotomy or Perineal Tear
An episiotomy is an incision made in the tissue between the vagina
and anus (perineum). It is sometimes done just before a baby's
head emerges from the birth canal to speed up delivery of the baby. The
incision is stitched up after delivery. Episiotomies are more commonly used
during first-time deliveries.
Routine episiotomy is not recommended. Experts
say that episiotomy:footnote 1
There are times when an episiotomy is urgently necessary. The
decision about whether to have an episiotomy cannot be made until delivery. If
your health professional decides that an episiotomy is necessary, it will be
just before delivery.
Rather than discuss episiotomy during delivery, it's a good idea to
go over it with your health professional at one of your prenatal visits.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2005). The Use of Episiotomy in Obstetrical Care: A Systematic Review. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 112. Available online: http://www.ahrq.gov.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 20, 2016
Current as of:
May 20, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network