Episiotomy and Stitches During Pregnancy


Labour Delivery

What is the difference between an episiotomy and a tear?

An ‘episiotomy’ is a cut made by the obstetrician through the vaginal wall and perineum to make more space to deliver the baby. A ‘tear’ happens as the baby stretches the vagina during birth. The episiotomy is made purposefully while a tear happens ‘naturally’.

Is an Episiotomy mandatory / compulsory?

NO! Although many women having their first baby need an episiotomy, it is definitely not a must. Your Obstetrician will judge the need for this at the time of the “crowning” of the head.

Usually, if a forceps or ventouse delivery is required, then an episiotomy is made to help increase the space.

How can I help the Episiotomy to heal quickly ?

Keep the area clean. Have a bath or a shower at least once a day and change your sanitary pads regularly (wash your hands both before and after you do so). This will reduce the risk of infection.

  • Keep the area clean. Have a bath or a shower at least once a day and change your sanitary pads regularly (wash your hands both before and after you do so). This will reduce the risk of infection.
  • You can give some dry heat to the area with a handheld hair dryer – this helps the area to stay dry and clean.
  • Drink at least 2–3 litres of water every day and eat a healthy balanced diet (fruit, vegetables, cereals, wholemeal bread and pasta). This will ensure that your bowels open regularly and prevent you from becoming constipated.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises as soon as you can after birth. This will increase the circulation of blood to the area and aid the healing process. You should be offered physiotherapy advice about pelvic floor exercises to do after surgery.