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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1989 May;160(5 Pt 1):1027-30.

Episiotomy: can its routine use be defended?

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Episiotomy is routinely used before delivery in the United States. The rationale for routine episiotomy is based on two foundation arguments: that episiotomy reduces perineal trauma and that it prevents subsequent pelvic relaxation. A careful review finds little evidence to support these arguments. Episiotomy may predispose the gravid woman to third- and fourth-degree lacerations. Efforts should be directed to determine whether episiotomy is beneficial.

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