I am 30 weeks pregnant and expecting my first baby. I am really scared that the doctor will cut my perineum during childbirth. Does this happen a lot? Can you tell me more about it? Thanks for your help, Florence

Florence, you should know that episiotomy procedures have declined significantly over the past 10 years. However, under some conditions, such as the need to quickly deliver the baby, the procedure has to be used. An episiotomy is when the muscle at the base of the labia majora opening towards the anus, called the perineum, is cut. The doctor will only cut as little as possible to prevent tearing. If you were not anesthetised during labour, you would receive a local anesthetic before the procedure. The wound will be closed with stitches. Usually, the stitches will dissolve when in contact with the skin, so they won’t have to be removed later. You will need about four weeks to heal the stitches and about eight weeks for a full recovery.

When you are giving birth in a hospital bed, the baby isn’t doing well, and an episiotomy is required, you won’t care about the procedure. You will only be concerned about the baby’s health. In the best of worlds, you won’t need the procedure. In the meantime, prepare your perineum for childbirth, do exercises, and the rest is just part of nature! 

All the best,

The Baby Expert 

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