Episiotomy during vaginal delivery was first recommended in 1920 as a way to protect the pelvic floor from lacerations and protect the fetal head from trauma. It was rapidly adopted as a standard practice and has been widely used since then. However, over the last several decades, there has been a growing body of evidence that episiotomy does not provide these purported benefits and may contribute to more severe perineal lacerations and future pelvic floor dysfunction. In this review, we examine the evidence that led to changing episiotomy practices and the debate that has surrounded episiotomy. By doing so, we can not only evaluate this specific obstetric procedure, but also gain insights into the challenge of changing medical practice as new data emerge.