In order to deliver your baby safely, it may be necessary to perform an episiotomy. This is a cut made between the vagina and rectum, which includes cutting through the skin and muscle.
The midwife/obstetrician will recommend that you have an episiotomy if your baby needs to be born quickly, if you are advised to have an assisted delivery with forceps/ventouse), or to reduce trauma to your rectum if you are likely to tear.
Episiotomies are not done routinely – they will only be suggested if the midwife or doctor feels they are necessary, and they will get your consent. You will be offered an injection to numb your perineum prior to the procedure. If you have an epidural, you won’t need any additional anaesthetic as this will stop you feeling any pain.
More information about episiotomy.