What is an episiotomy?
An episiotomy is when a cut is made in the perineum. There are 2 types: median and midline.
Midline is a cut made straight down the middle of the perineum.
Median is made at an angle to the right or left.
Are episiotomies necessary?
Generally speaking they are not necessary. Some providers use them as an alternative to tearing.
In the case of a emergent situation they can be necessary. For example, the baby is almost out at the vaginal opening, but the heart rate is dropping drastically. An episiotomy may be performed to help the baby get out quickly instead of doing a c-section.
Is an episiotomy better than tearing?
This question is clearly up for debate and you can find research supporting both views. From my personal understanding and experience I believe it is better to tear for healing purposes. The reason for this is it's a natural process and the tear fits back together upon repair like a puzzle. When there is a clean cut this does not happen. Also, with a cut it becomes easier to rip like when you cut a piece of paper.
Have you had an episiotomy? What are your thoughts on them?