An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum (the birth canal) during childbirth. Although episiotomies were once routine in childbirth, medical guidelines today recommend an episiotomy only in a narrow set of cases. Episiotomies have been clearly linked with worse perineal tears, loss of bladder or bowel control, and pelvic floor defects. These complications slow the mother’s recovery and increase delivery costs. Due to these concerns, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has called for the restricted use of episiotomy, which has been firmly linked to lower rates of perineal injury.
Read our case study showing one hospital's success in lowering their episiotomy rate.
Leapfrog has tracked hospitals' rate of episiotomy since 2012. In 2015, at the guidance of its expert panel, Leapfrog reduced its target rate for episiotomy to 5%, down from 12%, to further reflect literature indicating the limited degree to which episiotomy should be used.
This measure is publicly reported as Episiotomies on Leapfrog's Hospital Ratings Results page.