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I Was Not Warned About Perineal Tears

I Was Not Warned About Perineal Tears

Falling pregnant and giving birth for the first time is a steep learning curve. It is such a new experience and there is a lot to take on board.

However, there are times when a patient feels like she has not been given sufficient information, and it is only when something has gone wrong that this information comes to light.

I was not told about perineal tears before giving birth

A common example of this is perineal tears. Not all women will know what a perineal tear is before they give birth, and many will not be told of the risks. Some patients say that had they been warned, they would have opted for an elective C-section instead.

This was the subject of a recent study by Hans Peter Dietz of the Sydney Medical School in Australia, who has found that the older a woman is when she gives birth, the greater the risk of major pelvic floor injury.

He suggests that pregnant women should be warned of such risks, as this will enable them to make an informed choice about the mode of delivery. Currently pregnant women are warned about the risks of a caesarean section, but are not told about the risks of vaginal birth, which include tears to the anal sphincter.

Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board

This lack of information was highlighted in legal battle in 2015, during which a diabetic woman argued that she had not be advised of the risks of vaginal birth. She was at increased risk of complications because diabetes can result in a larger than average baby, and she was of a petite stature.

Sadly her baby became stuck behind her pubic bone and suffered oxygen deprivation. She said that had she been told about the risks, she would have had a C-section and her child would have been born free of injury.

“You should be allowed to make that choice”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said it is considering issuing a leaflet on vaginal births. This is likely to be opposed by some campaigners who believe a natural birth is best whenever possible. NHS obstetrician Bryan Beattie believes the choice should be made by the woman.

“You might say to me: 'I could cope with a wound infection if I had a C-section but I could not cope with faecal incontinence from a bad vaginal delivery.' You should be allowed to make that choice but you can't if you don't have the information”, he said.

Want to speak to a solicitor?

If you were at increased risk of suffering complications during a vaginal delivery, but medical practitioners neglected to warn you, it may be that medical practitioners provided you with a substandard level of care. If this has caused unnecessary injury to you or your baby, there could be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact us to find out more.

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