An episiotomy is an incision made in the area between the vagina and the anal canal during labour. This is usually done after the baby’s head can be seen during contractions. An episiotomy is usually given to ensure that there are no tears near the anal canal during labour. Or, when there are signs that the baby is in trouble and needs to be delivered quickly.
Even though episiotomy is given for special reasons, there are still many women who are afraid to get an episiotomy. And, the good news is, there are things you can do to help avoid an episiotomy.
Also read: Tips for Caring for a Torn Perineum After Normal Childbirth
How to Avoid Episiotomy
Here are a few things you can do to avoid an episiotomy.
1. Try massaging the perineum after 34 weeks of pregnancy or more
Massaging the perineum or the skin between the vagina and anus can reduce the risk of needing an episiotomy and continuing perineal pain after delivery. You can gently massage the perineum and around the vaginal opening about once or twice a week. This will help relax the perineal muscles, which need to be stretched during labor.
Here’s how to do a perineal massage:
- Make sure your hands are clean. It’s best to cut your nails first so that the massage feels more comfortable.
- Choose a comfortable position. This comfortable position can be sitting, lying down, or standing with one leg on a chair.
- Apply a small amount of oil on your fingers and around the perineum. Oils that are good for perineal massage such as coconut oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E oil, or vegetable oil.
- Place the thumb inside the vagina. Press toward the perineum and to the sides of the vagina until you feel a stretching sensation.
- At first, do this for about a minute. Once you get used to it, you may be able to continue the massage for up to five minutes.
However, you should first consult with your doctor or midwife before trying this method.
Also read: Perineal Rupture, a Vulnerable Condition Occurs During Normal Delivery
2. Do pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegels will help the pelvic muscles work and relax them. Many women feel tense during contractions, especially if they feel scared. And, doing pelvic floor exercises can help you relax your muscles during the second stage of labour.
3. Try to rest and listen to your body
One of the big reasons why a woman should undergoing an episiotomy was because she was exhausted during labour. This is more common in first-time mothers, perhaps because their labor is generally longer.
During the early stages of labour, you should try to relax. It is very important to save energy because then you may have a long labor.
Eating, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest will help you conserve energy for the process you’re going through next. On the other hand, when you’re too tired, it increases your chances of needing an episiotomy.
Also read: Do Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy, Many Benefits!
4. Try to facilitate optimal fetal positioning
It’s easiest for babies to come out when their fists are down towards your back and their back is to one side in front of your tummy. In this position, it is easier for the baby to flex their head and navigate the birth canal. This position is known as the occiput anterior (OA).
If you want to know the position of the baby near the time of delivery, you can ask your health care provider. When the baby is not in the OA position, it can make it more difficult for the baby to descend. Ask your doctor what you can do to help facilitate space for your baby to move into the optimal fetal position.
5. Avoid continuous straining
Pushing without a natural urge can cause fatigue which can lead to a baby being born at the wrong time. This situation can also cause you to have an episiotomy during delivery.
Listening to your body can help ensure that you are pushing at the right time. Also, listen to the advice of the doctor assisting in labor to help each push become more effective. This can help ensure that your baby is in a good position and that you are not wasting energy. It can also help reduce the risk of needing an episiotomy.
Being active and educated in labor, delivery, and delivery preparation can help reduce the risk of an episiotomy. However, medical intervention such as an episiotomy is sometimes necessary when the mother and/or baby are disturbed. So, don’t be disappointed if the doctor gives you an episiotomy during labor because this is all for the good of you and your baby.
Also read: Nikita Willy in Normal Maternity, Here are 8 Tips for Smooth Pushing
Bellybelly.com. Tips to avoid having an episiotomy.