“THERE is a dreaded procedure routinely performed on expectant mothers that makes most cringe and fear their birth experience. It’s called an episiotomy. An episiotomy is a procedure in which a surgical incision is made in the tissues of the birth canal just before the baby’s head is born. This cut causes trauma to the woman’s genital region, requires stitches after the birth, and is a matter that is considered a violation of the woman’s human rights amongst natural childbirth advocates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states, “Limiting the use of episiotomy to strict indications has a number of benefits: less…trauma, less need for suturing and fewer complications…. Routine episiotomy, or liberal use of episiotomy, is unfortunately very common, both in under-resourced settings and in some developed countries….There are…strong reasons to counteract the overuse of episiotomy…”*
In the end, your doctor has the most power over whether or not you will be cut. Your job includes:
- 1. Educating yourself on how to prepare your body so that you don’t “need” the cut.
- 2. Be a good consumer by finding a doctor who does not routinely cut
- 3. Learning how to cope with your labor and birth without medicinal pain relief so that you can push with self control when the time comes.
In the end, you are the one who has to live with the consequences of your birth experience. Whether or not you have an episiotomy is not the end of the world, but it will surely make a difference in how you feel about your birth as well as how much pain and healing you’ll need to do afterwards.”
Founder and teacher of AMANI Birth®, providing natural childbirth education and doula certifications. Advocate for mothers and babies and opinionated about natural birth with a passion to share what I’ve learned. Positive Parenting facilitator and mother of eight home-schooled children, American, married to a Saudi.
In the Comment Section of this excellent article I wrote this:
I would add a thirteenth tip for avoiding the “cut”.
And that is, Do not be induced! When a woman goes into labor spontaneously her hormones line up correctly and upon the imminent birth of he babe, a stretching hormone floods her body which enables her to quickly expand, some call this the “ring of fire”. It is natures way of enabling even the smallest mother to stretch for the baby.
Also, one of the big lies around episiotomy is that being stitched up will restore the vagina to virginal status. Some doctors have been taught to tell patients that they will be honeymoon fresh for their husbands by tightly stitching a mother up after the cut.
I am going to share an insight that has been whispered from Mother to Mother in the Unassisted Childbirth Community for decades. When a Mother gives birth autonomously and privately the incidence of orgasmic birth goes up with the birth of each babe. And many Mothers have confided to me that each birth results in a natural tightening and renewing of the vagina which in turn makes sex more pleasurable for the woman. I am friends with many who are into Family Birth and a special blessing of sexual renewal is available to those couples who are faithful to each other and embrace a high standard of sexual fidelity.
It makes sense to me that our Heavenly Father would want to bless Families with this tremendous gift of sexual renewal and love as each child is welcomed into the home, with an increase of capacity for joy for both the mother and the father.
I cringe when thinking of my grandmothers surgical vaginal births. My Mother also had episiotomies with all 8 of her babes. I have had five children, one an eleven pound boy with a fifteen inch head, and not even a skid mark, and no episiotomies with any of them. I credit supportive doctors, my own education with nutrition and exercise, birthing upright, and a deep desire not to be cut with my perineal integrity.
I also have experienced the sexual renewal after my two home births.
I pray for the day when no Mother is needlessly cut during birth. I predict an outpouring of love and increase of joy in each home where these principles of sexual integrity are taught and practiced.