The role of episiotomy in current obstetric practice

Jane Cleary-Goldman, Julian N. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This review traces the clinical use of episiotomy from the eighteenth century to the present and explains why the procedure has a restricted function in current practice. The types of episiotomy are described, and the controversies surrounding the sequelae associated with the procedure are explored. The modern indications for episiotomy including the procedure's place at operative vaginal delivery are discussed. Although the role of the episiotomy in modern obstetrics may be limited, the procedure is important in situations involving nonreassuring fetal status, shoulder dystocia, and perhaps operative vaginal delivery. The optimal type of episiotomy, if any, at forceps or vacuum delivery is yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


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