Today at work I'm spending my time researching labor and delivery. Now, I don't know how reliable babycenter.com is, but they had a section on Episiotomies that of course did nothing to help my nervousness in regards to tearing down there.
The paragraph I copy/pasted is what worries me the most, so I'm wondering if this is true, for those of you who had one with your first baby.
Is it better to just tear naturally?
Research has shown that women with a spontaneous tear generally recover in the same or less time and often with fewer complications than those who had an episiotomy.
Women who have an episiotomy tend to lose more blood at the time of delivery, have more pain during recovery, and have to wait longer before they have sex without discomfort. Episiotomy also increases the risk of infection, and a recent study showed that getting an episiotomy for a first vaginal birth is linked to an increased risk of tearing in the next birth.
What's more, women who get an episiotomy are more likely to end up with a serious tear through the anal sphincter or even all the way through the rectum (known as a third- or fourth-degree laceration, respectively) than those who deliver without being cut.
These serious tears result in more perineal pain after the birth, require a significantly longer recovery period, and are more likely to affect the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. Tears that disrupt the anal sphincter make it more likely that the mom will have anal incontinence -- trouble controlling bowel movements or gas.