Woolley RJ. Benefits and risks of episiotomy: a review of the English-language literature since 1980. Part II. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1995 Nov;50(11):821-35. doi: 10.1097/00006254-199511000-00021. PMID: 8545087.
Mediolateral and, to a lesser degree, midline episiotomies substantially increase the amount of blood loss at delivery; in fact, simple avoidance of episiotomy may be the most powerful means the delivery attendant has to prevent excessive intrapartum hemorrhage. The long-term morbidity of the anal sphincter damage induced by episiotomy, particularly midline, has generally been underestimated in both its frequency and severity. Other potential fetal and maternal complications of episiotomies, although rare, are numerous and serious. The overall degree of risk that accompanies this procedure could only be justified by a clear and overriding benefit, which, as discussed under “Benefits” earlier in this review, does not appear to exist.
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