What is... Episiotomy

Lately there’s been a lot of talking about Episiotomy, maybe not so much in the UK (but I can be wrong), but in Brazil and Portugal this topic has been 🔥


What is an Episiotomy?

Episiotomy is a surgical procedure, which consists of making a cut in the perineum to widen birth canal to facilitate the birth of the baby. There are a lot of health care professional that defend that is better to cut than to tear, however there’s no scientific evidence to support this.


When should an episiotomy be performed?

NICE recommends that an episiotomy might be done if:

🛑the baby is in distress and needs to be born quickly, or

🛑there is a need for forceps or vacuum (ventouse), or

🛑there is a risk of a tear to the anus.


This week @melania44 made a wonderful post about this topic, for those who don’t know her she is a WHO consultant, obstetrician, researcher and author of several articles on episiotomy, and she hasn’t done episiotomies for 19 years and advocates the eradication of this practice. She listed some points:

🔴It is considered an act of obstetric violence against the female body;

🔴It is an unnecessary procedure;

🔴There is no evidence corroborating any indication of episiotomy in modern obstetrics;

🔴May be responsible for increasing pain, bleeding, and postpartum infections;

🔴May induce the appearance of scars and keloids, in addition to increasing the risk of pain in penetration during sexual intercourse and pelvic floor dysfunction;

🔴 routine episiotomy increases the risk of third and fourth degree perineal lacerations (severe perineal trauma);

🔴 We already have clinical trials demonstrating that it is possible never to perform episiotomy and abandon this practice that has done so much harm to women.


“There is no evidence corroborating any "indication" of episiotomy, these indications were invented by a technocratic Obstetric model, misogynistic, patriarchal and sexist and are repeated to this day without the effectiveness of episiotomy has been proven, and knowing that it increases the risk of severe perineal lacerations (third and fourth degree).”

If you are interested in this topic, check my lintr.ee for more evidence on this topic.