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J Adv Nurs. 2003 Aug;43(4):384-94.

Effects of episiotomy on bonding and mothers' health.

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  • 1Vocational School Health Service, Hacettepe University, Okulu, 06100 Ankara, Turkey.



Historically, episiotomy has been carried out during labour to facilitate delivery, shorten the duration of the second stage and prevent spontaneous lacerations. However, recent studies of episiotomy have recommended that it be carried out only when necessary. In Turkey, midwives are authorized to perform episiotomy.


To analyse the effects of episiotomy on mothers' health and mother-infant bonding.


A cohort study of 100 women who gave birth by normal vaginal delivery in a Turkish hospital between 15 March 1999 and 6 April 2000.


Participants were divided into episiotomy (n = 50) and control (n = 50) groups. Data on biographical characteristics and the process of labour were collected in hospital, and follow-up was conducted at home 1, 3 and 12 weeks after labour.


Mean duration of the second stage was longer in the episiotomy group than the control group, but the difference was not significant. The number of spontaneous lacerations was significantly lower in the episiotomy group. Mean time from delivery to maternal rest and time taken to bond with the infant were significantly longer in the episiotomy group. There were significantly higher scores for overall incidence and severity of pain on the first day, and pain incidence and severity at 1 week in the episiotomy group. Significantly fewer women in the episiotomy group were able to do chores and to sit/stand up comfortably in the first postpartum week


Episiotomy should not be used unless indicated. Measures should be taken to avoid perineal trauma during labour, establish bonding between mother and infant as soon as possible, and minimize perineal discomfort after delivery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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