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Tearing during childbirth is an extremely common occurrence; in fact it is the most common childbirth injury. 9 out of 10 women tear during childbirth to some extent and tears differ in their severity. Classification of childbirth tears runs from first degree tears up to fourth degree tears - with fourth degree tears being the most severe. Tears can affect only the perineum - the skin and muscles separating the vagina and the anal sphincter, or can extend further than this with the most severe tears affecting the anal canal and the rectum.
Classification of Tears
First degree - These are small tears to the skin of the vagina or perineum, accompanied by no damage to muscles. First degree tears do not usually require stitching.
Second degree - These tears also only effect the vagina/perineum, but are accompanied by damage to the muscles. They require stitching to heal.
Third degree - Third degree tears extend beyond the perineum and into the anal sphincter.
Fourth degree - Fourth degree tearing is the most severe type of birth tear. It affects the perineum, anal sphincter and extends beyond this into the anal canal and rectum. An experienced surgeon will have to repair this tear.
Third and fourth degree tears are less common that first and second degree tears. Approximately 9% of women will experience a third or fourth degree tear during childbirth.
Episiotomy and Tearing
An episiotomy is a surgical cut to the perineum. Research is conflicting as to its positive or negative effect on the risk of severe tearing during childbirth. However, in general it is accepted that an episiotomy is preferable to a tear and should be instigated during deliveries using forceps and during deliveries in which a tear is predicted to be imminent.
Occassionally, Episiotomy cuts can me made negligently and lead to ongoing pain and suffering. Find out more about Episiotomy injuries.
Perineal Tear Claims
The most common basis for a medical negligence claim regarding childbirth tearing is negligent repair. If a vaginal tear is not diagnosed accurately and repaired appropriately following childbirth, this can result in complications for the mother. Claims relating to negligent birth plans may also be possible - previous perineal tearing should be factored in to decisions regarding the current labour to reduce the risk of serious tearing.
For a free initial enquiry regarding your perineal tear during childbirth claim, give 1st Claims a call on 0800 2888 693 (from a mobile click to call: 01275 774 557) or fill in an online enquiry and have a chat to one of our team about whether or not your claim is viable, and about how we can help you.
Find out more information about other forms of Birth Injury Claim online.
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- An explanation of what will happen next if you decide to carry on and make a claim (how your solicitor will take care of everything for you).
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