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Poor Management of Perineal Trauma after Vaginal Delivery

Poor Management of Perineal Trauma after Vaginal Delivery

Perineal trauma is a common occurrence during vaginal childbirth. For most women, this is a relatively small problem which repairs quickly. For an unfortunate few, however, the impact of vaginal childbirth can be devastating.

All women should undergo a thorough examination after childbirth to check for any signs of damage to the anal sphincter. These are the muscles which allow the woman to control the passing of wind and faeces. If the anal sphincter is injured during childbirth, as happens to around 5% of women, the ability to prevent the accidental passing of wind and faeces may be weakened or lost completely.

This is a particular risk for women in the following categories:

  • A woman who is giving birth through the vagina for the first time
  • A woman who is giving birth to a large baby
  • A woman who has needed an instrumentally-assisted birth with either forceps or ventouse
  • A woman of Asian ethnicity
  • Where the baby becomes stuck behind the pubic bone

A failure to make an assessment of the perineum and anus following childbirth by women in these categories may be considered to have been particularly poor care.

According to the new CARE Bundles for the prevention of obstetric anal sphincter injuries, or 3rd and 4th degree tears as they are also known, the following procedures should be in place:

  • Women should be advised of the risks of obstetric anal sphincter injuries during vaginal childbirth and advised how to minimise the risk
  • Where appropriate, women should receive manual protection of the perineum during childbirth
  • If appropriate, a medio-lateral episiotomy should be carried out
  • The perineum should be examined after the birth, including a digital, rectal examination, and any damage should be classified according to the guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

A failure to carry out these procedures, leaving the new mother with an undiagnosed or unrepaired injury may be regarded negligent.

If she subsequently suffers long-term and significant bowel problems as a result, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors

Glynns Solicitors is a specialist medical negligence legal practice. We have considerable experience of supporting compensation claims for poor care of childbirth perineal tears.

Contact us today to talk to a specialist solicitor about the suitability of making a claim for compensaiton.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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