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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Unnecessary Medical Procedures

Pregnant African American woman

For years, an episiotomy was believed to help prevent more extensive vaginal tears during childbirth. An episiotomy is an incision made by the doctor in the tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus. A surgical incision was thought to heal better than a natural tear. It was a routine procedure performed during childbirth. It is now considered unnecessary.
But some doctors are doing it!

In 2015, Kimberly Turbin, a pregnant woman from Los Angeles, claimed that this procedure was done to her unnecessarily and without her consent. She says the delivering doctor, Dr. Alex Abbassi, forcibly cut her with scissors not once, but 12 times. There was no medical emergency involved in the delivery, and Turbin even protested audibly but the doctor told her, "I am the expert here."

She suffered much pain, and healing was extensive. So she took her story and posted in on YouTube, which has received 430,000 views. She has since filed a lawsuit against the doctor, which is still in litigation. But he has since surrendered his license, and is no longer practicing in the state of California.

What we can learn?

According to The Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical practice and medical research group in Minnesota, episiotomies are no longer a routine procedure during childbirth. The episiotomy can be more extensive than a natural tear and can cause pain during sex for months.

What we can learn from Turbin's case, though, is that all women should have a choice in the matter. A surgical procedure should always be explained to the patient and only done with their consent.

Is an episiotomy ever necessary?

Yes, but very rarely. It is only needed if the baby is very large, or if the baby is experiencing severe trauma and needs to be delivered immediately.

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