What is it?

A surgical cut of the perineum (the tissue between the vagina and the anus) that’s made right before the baby is born to enlarge the birth canal.


  • ignores tissue and muscle structure
  • disrupts the integrity of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues
  • causes more bleeding
  • causes more pain
  • causes more loss of muscle tone
  • causes more deformity of the vagina
  • 26% greater chance of tearing where shutting is needed
  • 53% greater chance of pain during sexual intercourse
  • risk of long-term painful sexual intercourse
  • 2 times more likely to not be able to control bowel movement
  • not supported by research1
  • causes pain for an extended amount of time after the birth2
  • Causes perineum to be sore and uncomfortable2
Enkin M, Keirse MJNC, Neilson J, et al. Effective care in pregnancy and childbirth: a synopsis. Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. June 2000:485-508. doi: 10.1093/med/9780192631732.003.0050
Nichols F H, Humenick S Smith. Childbirth Education: Practice, Research and Theory. Saunders; 2000.