How to repair an episiotomy
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How to repair an episiotomy

Mary Steen Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Bernie Cummins Advanced divisional director of midwifery and nursing, Women’s and Babies Division, SA Health, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Rationale and key points

Skilful repair of an episiotomy is an important aspect of maternal health care. It is essential that midwives and doctors have the knowledge and skills to undertake this procedure in a safe and effective manner.

An episiotomy should be repaired promptly to reduce blood loss and prevent infection.

Repair of an episiotomy is undertaken in three stages: repair of the vaginal mucosa, repair of the muscle layer and repair of the skin layer.

Adequate pain relief should be provided before suturing.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

Why a rectal examination is recommended before and following repair of an episiotomy.

What you would do to improve your suturing skills.

The factors that may prevent or delay an episiotomy from healing.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at

Nursing Standard. 30, 25, 36-39. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.25.36.s46


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 01 April 2015

Accepted: 28 May 2015