ABSTRACT: To evaluate our practice following Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) of the French College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (CNGOF) in 2005 advocating a policy of restrictive episiotomy and to show that a significative decrease in the rate of episiotomy does not increase the number of third and fourth degree perineal tears.
A retrospective study of episiotomies and third/fourth degree perineal tears of the year 2003 (before the CPG) was compared with the year 2007 (after the CPG). We analyzed the indications of episiotomies and compared the rate of episiotomies and severe perineal tears between the two periods.
In 2003, the rate of episiotomies was 18.8% (upon 1755 vaginal deliveries). We observed 16 (9 per thousand) third-degree perineal tears, five of which was associated with episiotomies; and two (1 per thousand) fourth-degree perineal tears. In 2007, the rate of episiotomies was 3.4% (upon 1940 vaginal deliveries). There were eight (4 per thousand) third-degree and four (2 per thousand) fourth-degree perineal tears. The two periods of study were similar in terms of age, parity, gestational age, birthweight, rate of spontaneous deliveries, breech and instrumental deliveries. There were a difference regarding deliveries in the occipitoposterior position (5.8% vs 13.8% ; p=0.02). No significant difference was found between the rates of third degree (9 per thousand vs 4 per thousand ; p=0.059) and fourth degree perineal tears (1 per thousand vs 2 per thousand ; p=0.487). However, there was a significant decrease in the rate of episiotomies between the two periods (18.8% vs 3.4% ; p<0.001).
An episiotomy rate of 3.4% is much lower than the threshold rate of 30% recommanded. A policy of restrictive episiotomy is possible without increasing the rate of severe perineal tears. Aknowledging the risks and benefits of each obstetrical procedure might decrease the number of episiotomies, whose practice should be evaluated in every labour ward.
Journal de Gynécologie Obstétrique et Biologie de la Reproduction 11/2009; 39(1):37-42. · 0.42 Impact Factor