What is an Episiotomy

An episiotomy is a surgical procedure undertaken during delivery to help the baby pass through more easily. This entails a cut in the perennial area between the vagina and the bowel area. This is done so that there is extra room for the baby to pass and come out with less trouble. The head can tear the fibre when it comes out, especially if it is very large. To avoid weakness of the area, an episiotomy is carried out. The doctor’s opinion is what really decides if a woman in labour needs an episiotomy.

The same has to be stitched once the baby has been delivered. The number of stitches depends on the length of the cut that has been made. It can be as little as five stitches or may have to go up to as many as ten or twelve. Once the area has been stitched, the area becomes quite sore, especially when you try to sit cross legged or while feeding. You should avoid making this discomfort an excuse to stop feeding. Try and squeeze the buttocks and then sit down to make it easier. This causes the perennial area to rise and come between the buttocks, and relieves pain.

However, if the cut is very long, then squeezing will not help. You should then try and use an air cushion. Do not apply any direct pressure to the area. The discomfort and pain will start to ease after about ten or fifteen days when the stitches dissolve. Your position will get better by the day. Do not restrict the flow of urine. At the hospital, you will be given a stool softener and night to make it easier for you. This should be given for about three or four days. You could also try a dip in a warm bath tub which is very soothing. Another helpful aid is a cooling pad.

The main precaution is to ensure the stitches do not get infected. Never wear polyester undergarments. After you have a bath, hold a dryer to the area to keep it dry and free from infections. After passing urine, dab the area with sterile gauze pieces. Should any infection set in, the area will become red, swollen, tender and painful. You should see a doctor immediately to make sure the infection does not spread.



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