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. 2013 Dec;40(4):247-55.
doi: 10.1111/birt.12060.

The Use of Episiotomy in a Low-Risk Population in the Netherlands: A Secondary Analysis

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The Use of Episiotomy in a Low-Risk Population in the Netherlands: A Secondary Analysis

A E Seijmonsbergen-Schermers et al. Birth. .

Abstract

Background: To examine the episiotomy incidence and determinants and outcomes associated with its use in primary care midwifery practices.

Methods: Secondary analysis of two prospective cohort studies (n = 3,404).

Results: The episiotomy incidence was 10.8 percent (20.9% for nulliparous and 6.3% for parous women). Episiotomy was associated with prolonged second stage of labor (adj. OR 12.09 [95% CI 6.0-24.2] for nulliparous and adj. OR 2.79 [1.7-4.6] for parous women) and hospital birth (adj. OR 1.75 [1.2-2.5] for parous women). Compared with episiotomy, perineal tears were associated with a lower rate of postpartum hemorrhage in parous women (adj. OR 0.58 [0.4-0.9]). Fewer women with perineal tears reported perineal discomfort (adj. OR 0.35 [0.2-0.6] for nulliparous and adj. OR 0.22 [0.1-0.3] for parous women). Among nulliparous women episiotomy was performed most frequently for prolonged second stage of labor (38.8%) and among parous women for history of episiotomy or prevention of major perineal trauma (21.1%).

Conclusions: The incidence of episiotomy is high compared with some low-risk settings in other Western countries. Episiotomy was associated with higher rates of adverse maternal outcomes. Restricted use of episiotomy is likely to be beneficial for women.

Keywords: episiotomy; indications; maternal outcomes.

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