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ARTICLE
Year : 2002  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-16

Episiotomies in Nigeria--should their use be restricted?


Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, P. M. B. 12003, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E R Ola
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, P. M. B. 12003, Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Episiotomy continues to be a frequently used procedure in obstetrics despite little scientific support for its routine use. The incidence of episiotomy and perineal tears and also the indications for episiotomy were therefore investigated in 1007 singleton deliveries between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1997 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. The incidence of episiotomy was 54.9% of all deliveries. Episiotomy was more frequently performed in primipara (90.4%). Perineal tears occurred in only 18.8% of all deliveries, with majority in the multipara (93.6%). Most of the team were of first degree (98.4%). No third degree tear was recorded. The commonest indication for episiotomy was that of protecting the perineum from possible tears (80.7%). All the episiotomies were mediolateral. Episiotomy rate was higher among deliveries conducted by doctors. Performance of episiotomy had a positive correlation with increasing foetal weight. No major complication or maternal death attributable to episiotomy was recorded. The results of our study suggest that the use of episiotomy can be restricted to specified indications like instrumental and big babies delivery. It is also useful for the prevention of maternal morbidity through perineal laceration. Randomized control trials will however be necessary to clarify the controversies relating to restrictive episiotomy.


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