The Leapfrog Group, a patient safety organization comprised of employers and other purchasers of employee health coverage, has reported measures of maternity care safety for several years, most notably with their survey of hospital rates of early elective deliveries. This year’s Leapfrog Hospital Survey highlights hospital rates of episiotomy. The public can compare episiotomy rates within a city, state, or region. An episiotomy is a surgical cut to enlarge the vagina for vaginal birth. Evidence suggests that routine or frequent use of episiotomy does not benefit babies but increases mothers’ pain, reduces pelvic floor strength, and may predispose women to extensive tears that involve anal sphincter muscles. Despite the evidence, episiotomy rates remain high in some settings.
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