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May 4, 2005

Women Beware! Traditional Hospital Procedure During Labor Is Harmful

From "Procedure On Women In Labor Adds Risk: Study Urges Halt To Episiotomies," by Rob Stein in today's WaPo:

One of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States -- an incision many pregnant women receive to reduce the risk of tissue tears during delivery -- has no benefits and actually causes more complications, according to the most comprehensive analysis to evaluate the practice. ...

An episiotomy is an incision that doctors make in the perineum -- the skin between the opening of the vagina and anus. The idea is that the incision will make delivery of a child easier and that a deliberate surgical incision will heal more quickly and with fewer complications than tears that occur spontaneously, minimizing the risk of sexual problems and other complications, such as incontinence. Because the procedure has been in widespread use since the 1930s, it has been subject to careful evaluation only fairly recently.

So here's the deal: there's no reason to allow a doctor to tear up your body before you give birth. The article doesn't mention it, but just as a public service announcement, let me add this: vaginal birth is safer than Caesarean section. One is totally natural and the other is surgery where someone cuts up your body. (And yes, there's actual medical science behind this statement. Here's a Google search on risks of Caesarean section.)

Posted by cj at May 4, 2005 1:09 PM

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