Preggo Chynna Ortaleza Cipriano recently shared on social media what’s on her mind: “thoughts of labor and episiotomy,” she wrote on Instagram as a caption for a concept photo of her with run-down mascara, looking like she just finished crying.

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“You can do it! We have the same fears pala!” fellow celebrity preggo Kylie Padilla commented. “Akala ko it would go away the second time ‘round, but it seems mas may anxiety pa. But we can do this!” she added. Kylie endured a four-day-long labor when she delivered her firstborn son, Alas, now 2. She also has been candid about battling anxiety and experiencing perinatal depression.

“I started having cramps in my tummy the other day. Bam! That’s when anxiety hit. Before that, it was all cool,” Chynna shared. She and husband Kean Cipriano didn’t say when they’re expecting to welcome their second child, a baby boy they’re naming Salem, when they announced the pregnancy in April 2019. Chynna may already be in her third trimester, since this is the period when Braxton Hicks or false labor contractions (or cramps) are more frequent.

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If we assume that the Ciprianos waited until past the first trimester before they shared the pregnancy news, then Chynna could already be around eight months pregnant this month, September 2019. Or, she and Kylie might also share the same due-date month, which is November.

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“You’ll never know what happens during labor, but I have been praying relentlessly for a happy and safe delivery,” Chynna, who had a relatively easy birth with daughter Stellar, 3, wrote on Instagram. It was part of the caption for a photo of herself packing her baby boy’s essentials. (You need three hospital d-day bags! Click here why!).

Having an episiotomy is not routine, and it may take longer to heal than a natural vaginal tear.

Every pregnancy is different, as no childbirth experience is the same, but all pregnancies have risks. There are indeed many things that can happen during labor, which is why you should discuss with your doctor beforehand the possible complications that may arise and the medical interventions that could help. (Here’s a list of labor interventions you should know.)

An episiotomy is an intervention that not all women who give birth vaginally may need. Also known as perineotomy, an episiotomy is a procedure where the doctor makes a clean cut to the pregnant woman’s perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) and the muscles beneath it to let the baby pass through quickly. The cut is stitched closed after the baby is delivered.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) both discourage routine episiotomies, but doctors still perform it when needed, usually when the baby’s heart rate becomes erratic or slows down, his shoulders are stuck behind the mother’s pelvis, or your doctor needs to use forceps or a vacuum to deliver your baby vaginally.

Episiotomies take a longer time to heal than natural vaginal tears. It can also weaken the woman’s pelvic floor muscles, which contribute to long-term issues such as urinary and fecal incontinence, pain during sex, and even further surgery to repair your perineum if your doctor accidentally makes the cut too deep.

But there is hope. Pregnant women can lower their risk of having an episiotomy by doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy to strengthen and stretch pelvic floor muscles in preparation for childbirth. On your due date, a pregnant woman’s labor positions such as squatting may help speed up that process. Learning how to properly push when you feel the urge, and not holding your breath also helps.

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Learn more about episiotomies and how to lessen your risk of having one here.

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