There has been a decline in rates of episiotomy between 2006 and 2012 in the US, according to an analysis by the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.
Episiotomy is a common obstetric procedure for widening the outlet of the birth canal to make it easier for the mother to give birth. Restrictive use of the procedure has been recommended taking into consideration the risks of the procedure and unclear benefits of routine use.
Researchers used the Perspective database to identify women who underwent a vaginal delivery from 2006-2012. 2,261,070 women who were hospitalized for a vaginal delivery in 510 hospitals were part of the study. It was found that 325,193 women underwent episiotomy (14.4 percent). There was a decline in the episiotomy rate between 2006 (17.3 percent) and 2012 (11.6 percent). Several demographic characteristics were associated with episiotomy with 15.7 percent of white women undergoing episiomtomy vs 7.9 percent of black women; and 17.2 percent with commercial insurance vs 11.2 percent with Medicaid insurance. Hospital factors such as rural location and teaching status were associated with less use.
The authors concluded that non-medical factors were related to use of episiotomy. The study is published in the 'JAMA'.