An episiotomy is a surgical cut, which is made just before the baby is born, to make the vaginal opening larger.
For many years, an episiotomy was done to prevent ragged tears to the skin and muscle around the vagina that can happen when the baby comes out. These tears can be easily fixed and may even lead to less pain, bleeding, and healing problems than when the episiotomy cut is made.
The decision, as to whether or not an episiotomy is necessary, is made by your doctor at the time of delivery. Your doctor’s decision is often based on the size of your baby, its position, and how your labor is moving along.
An episiotomy is usually done under some type of anesthesia. With some anesthesias, the woman may still feel pressure from the baby. But she usually does not feel pain when the episiotomy cut is made. Several stitches, that do not need to be removed, are used to repair the cut.
This incision may be tender and uncomfortable for the first few days after delivery, but it usually heals quickly and without any problems.