An episiotomy is a small cut in the perineum, the area between the vagina and anus.
It is done to provide more room for delivering the baby as well as to avoid irregular tears at the time of childbirth. It is questionable if it has any benefit. Many health care providers in the US don’t do them anymore.
There are two types of episiotomies: the mediolateral and the midline. Midline is the one most often done in the US, mediolateral ones are more common in other countries.
If you are trying to avoid an episiotomy, perineal massage has been found to decrease perineal tearing. Do ask your health care provider what he or she performs.