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Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


How Episiotomy Hurts the Baby

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An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

My husband and I really feel the episiotomy wasn't necessary, when the baby would've been out with one more push. I've been brooding over this ever since.  I feel as if I've failed, I didn't want any intervention.

So what?  . . .  an episiotomy has NO negative consequences for the baby so what difference does it make?  . . .
Just an FYI - the list of fetal risks from episiotomy includes:

                    Eyelid laceration.
                    Castration (in breech birth).
                    Methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome).
                    Lidocaine toxicity.

Beyond the obvious, immediate risks to the baby listed above, the risks to the mother also directly affect the baby.  If you believe that babies deserve the best, then you probably believe this includes having the happiest, healthiest mother possible.  New mothers who are battling infections in their episiotomy wound or who find it painful to sit to nurse their newborn are not going to be happy, healthy new mothers.  Sleep problems caused by episiotomy pain  leave the new mother more susceptible to postpartum uterine infection and mastitis.  Increased difficulty nursing can be so discouraging that new mothers may abandon breastfeeding, so the newborn is deprived of the benefits of breastfeeding.

I think every newborn deserves to be nursed by a mother who is relaxed and comfortable enough that she smiles and coos lovingly at her new baby and kisses and cuddles her baby often.  It seems a lot more likely this is going to happen if the new mother hasn't had to have her perineum sutured.


Relax.  Enjoy the kids.  I  can't believe anyone would be obsessing about something so trivial 8 months later.
You probably didn't mean for this to sound so harsh and uncaring.

We have a funny attitude in the U.S. that women are just supposed to "take it" regarding their birth experience, whatever "it" is. It's as if the woman has no right to complain about anything, as if it's part of the sacrifice of mothering.


Women are people, too, and our culture should support them in complaining about bad birth experiences and agitating to improve births for all women and babies.

Even if you believe that women should suffer to give birth, at least you should appreciate that twins, especially, are going to get better parenting if their mother wasn't wounded giving birth.

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Perineal Protection - Avoiding Tears


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