Midwives’ Clinical Reasons for Performing Episiotomies in the Kurdistan Region : Are they evidence-based?

Hamdia M. Ahmed


Objectives: An episiotomy is one of the most common obstetric surgical procedures and is performed mainly by midwives. The decision to perform an episiotomy depends on related clinical factors. This study aimed to find out midwives’ reasons for performing episiotomies and to identify the relationship between these reasons and the demographic characteristics of the midwives. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between 1st July and 30th September 2013 in three governmental maternity teaching hospitals in the three main cities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. All of the midwives who had worked in the delivery rooms of these hospitals for at least one year were invited to participate in the study (n = 53). Data were collected through interviews with midwives as well as via a questionnaire constructed for the purpose of the study. The questionnaire sought to determine: midwives’ demographic characteristics; type of episiotomy performed; authority of the decision to perform the procedure, and reasons for performing episiotomies. Results: The main clinical reasons reported by midwives for performing an episiotomy were: macrosomia/large fetus (38, 71.7%), breech delivery (31, 58.5%), shoulder dystocia (29, 54.7%), anticipated perineal tear (27, 50.9%) and fetal distress (27, 50.9%). There was a significant association between the frequency of these reasons and midwives’ total experience in delivery rooms as well as their levels of education. Conclusion: Most of the reasons given by the midwives for performing episiotomies were not evidencebased. Age, years of experience, specialties and level of education also had an effect on midwives’ reasons for performing episiotomies.


Episiotomy; Nurses; Midwives; Iraq.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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