Research studies carried out showed that over 85% of women who give birth naturally sustain some form of vaginal injury, 65% of these women required suturing in order to make a recovery. Although this form of injury is common for many women, in some situations it could have been caused due to the negligent treatment of the medical team.
Women who are most at risk to a perineal tear are those who are carrying a baby heavier than 8lb or 4kg. Likewise, if the second stage of labour is very short or assisted delivery is required using a forceps or ventouse this may increase a woman’s chances of sustaining an injury.
Damage to any of the muscles surrounding the perineum can cause severe pain to the pelvic and abdominal areas. This can impact on the bonding of the mother and child along with increasing the likelihood of postnatal depression.
In serious cases, these symptoms can last for years and cause serious pain and suffering in a woman’s life. It is important to note that if a woman suffers a tear and there is no clear or obvious reasoning it may be worthwhile reviewing medical records to see if medical negligence occurred. During birth procedures, haematomas can occur, if they are large in size it is likely that they will need to be drained.
Types of Tears
These tears occur around your urethra. These tears are small and can heal on their own, however may need small stitches
First Degree Tear
These tears occur inside the vagina or outside the vagina on the perineum. First degree tears refer to tears when only the skin tears and everything beneath the skins remains intact. Dissolvable stitches may be used to stop bleeding.
Second Degree Tear
This tear is going to be deeper than the first degree tear and refers to a situation where both the skin and muscles below are torn and are usually treated with dissolvable stitches.
Third Degree Tear
This is a deeper tear which will tear the skin, muscles and part of the external anal sphincter. Stitches may be used to treat this type of tear.
Fourth Degree Tear
This is the deepest of all tears and involves a tear that extends into the rectum, resulting in a passage from the vagina into the rectum. Additional stitches and procedures are needed here to separate the vagina from the rectum. This will take longer to heal.
Perineal Tears and Medical Negligence*
While the birth of the baby itself may have gone without any complication to the child, negligence may be at play here if you received a substandard of medical care. Negligence has been noted in the following circumstances:
- 4th degree perineal tear was not treated in a theatre by an experienced obstetrician
- The doctor used an incorrect form of suture for the nature of tear you had experienced
- You were not prescribed the correct dose of antibiotics to treat your tear.
- You were not prescribed a laxative to prevent against constipation and related conditions
- Your follow up appointment did not detect any present issues, or any illness or infection was missed or misdiagnosed.