An episiotomy is a surgical cut (incision) that is done in order to widen the opening of the vagina during childbirth. This is done on the perineum a tissue found between the vaginal opening and the anus during childbirth.
Over the years, episiotomy has been done with the mindset of preventing further extensive vaginal tear during childbirth in Nigeria. Another reason why it was done was to aid in preserving the muscular and connective tissue support of the pelvic floor.
However, modern research suggests that routine episiotomies do not prevent the aforementioned problems.
Some major reasons why Nigerian Doctors or Midwives will opt for Episiotomy for you:
- When the baby’s head or shoulders are too large to pass through your vaginal opening
- When the baby is in a breech position (that moment when its rear or feet is coming out first), hence, it’s a complication for you.
- When you can’t stop or slow your pushing.
- When delivery gets complicated, and instruments, such as vacuum extractor or forceps, needs to be inserted into your to move your baby out.
The bitter truth is, episiotomy comes with some risks which include;
- Painful intercourse
- Perineal pain
- Massive tears from the incision (cut) that may extend through the anus
- Perineal hematoma and severe bleeding which is a collection of blood in the perineal related issues.
However, there are preventive measures that you can take to reduce your chances of undergoing episiotomy, some of which include;
- Doing daily kegel exercises daily during pregnancy
- Before your expected delivery, ensure you massage your perineum, at least for continuous six weeks.
- Undergoing childbirth class lessons to have perfect control over your breathing, and urge to push during labour.
Episiotomy Care & Healing Among Nigerian Women
If you have already undergone episiotomy, then you should follow the procedures below to reduce the incision pain and heal better;
- Ensure you take pain relievers (Ibuprofen is recommended), local anaesthetic sprays and medicated sprays.
- Ensure you apply ice packs immediately after birth on the affected areas
- Don’t hesitate to take a warm & bath (this should be 24hrs minimum after giving birth)
- Drink lots of water, eat a lot of fibre and take stool softeners to avoid painful bowel movements.
- Instead of having your usual bath, take sitz or shallow baths instead that will cover your vulva area. This may speed up the healing process, Dry it of carefully once done.
- Ensure you keep the affected area clean and dry, and avoid using toilet paper. Instead, use a spray bottle of warm water and tap dry with clean gauze.
- Be sure to rest your body for six weeks before engaging in any physical activity. This might include douching, having intercourse and using tampons to avoid rupturing your stitches.
Conclusion: Prevention, they say is always far better than cure. Most episiotomies cause severe pains and end up leaving permanent scars on a woman’s vagina, and you wouldn’t want that to be your case.
As an expectant Nigerian mom or female, episiotomy is never advised or recommended.
So how do you prevent it at no cost?
Click here and read further.
I wish you an injury-free delivery.