What is an episiotomy?
There is a space of tissue between the vagina and the anus. In labor this area, called the perineum, stretches along with the vagina to facilitate the birth of a baby.
In some cases, although becoming a little less common in some practices, a provider might find it safer to cut this tissue to allow more room for delivery. The alternative is to let the tissue naturally tear.
There are some differing opinions on which method is best. Some believe a clean straight cut heals faster and some believe a natural tear heals better. The argument for tearing also stems from the fact the tissue is meant to stretch and just might not tear.
According to Parents.com the likelihood a first time mom will tear is 95%. Talk to your provider about their opinion on episiotomy vs tearing BEFORE you go into labor.