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Vaginal Childbirth Tear Risk Negligence

Vaginal Childbirth Tear Risk Negligence

Suffering a severe perineal tear during vaginal childbirth can leave a woman with a lifetime of bowel problems. Failing to recognise that a new mother is at a greater risk of such an outcome may lead to a misdiagnosis and justify a claim for compensation.

Although a perineal tear is a risk of vaginal childbirth for all women, some women are at a greater risk of experiencing a severe 3rd or 4th degree tear. Such injuries can damage the functioning of the bowel and it is essential that any such damage is identified. A failure to recognise that a woman is in an 'at-risk' category may lead to a misdiagnosis.

Instrumental deliveries

Undergoing an instrumental delivery, especially where forceps are used, puts a woman at a greater risk of suffering a severe birth tear. It may be necessary for an episiotomy to be carried out prior to the instrumental delivery in order to minimise the likelihood of a severe tear. A failure to do this may be regarded as negligent. A failure to carry out a thorough examination of a new mother who has had an instrumental delivery may also be regarded as substandard care.

Shoulder dystocia

Occasionally, a baby may start the birth process but their shoulder may then become stuck behind the pubic bone. This is called shoulder dystocia. It puts the baby at risk and it also puts the new mother at a greater risk of suffering a severe birth tear.

Other severe perineal tear risk factors

Women who are carrying a larger than normal baby and women who have not given birth through the vagina before are at a greater risk of suffering a severe tear, as are women of Asian ethnicity.

Examination and diagnosis

All women who have given birth thorough the vagina should be thoroughly examined after the birth but it is particularly important for those women who come into any of the above categories.

If a severe birth tear is not diagnosed and repaired promptly after the birth of the baby, the woman may suffer symptoms for the rest of her life.

Claiming compensation

If the physical and psychological symptoms of an unrepaired severe tear have caused a significant impact on a woman's quality of life and capacity to work, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, specialists in medical negligence compensation, to talk to a solicitor with extensive expertise in birth tear claims.

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