Vaginal and Perineal Tears Claims
The perineum is the area of skin between your vaginal opening and your back passage (anus). Some women give birth without injury to the perineum, however, injuries or tears can occur at the time of vaginal delivery. A vaginal or perineal tear can occur quite naturally during child birth.¬†
An episiotomy is a cut made by a doctor or midwife through the vaginal wall and perineum to make more space for the baby to be born. A tear happens naturally as the baby stretches the vagina and perineum during birth.
The majority of women (up to 9 in every 10) will tear to some extent during childbirth. Most women will need stitches to repair the tear.¬†
There are four types of perineal tear:
- 1st degree tears involve injury to skin only and usually heal naturally¬†
- 2nd degree tears involve injury to the perineal muscles. These usually require stitches.
- 3rd degree tears involve injury to the perineal muscles and anal sphincter
- 4th degree tears involve injury to the perineal muscles, anal sphincter and the lining of the rectum
If only a first degree or second degree tear occurs, there are normally no long term complications. Third or fourth degree tears can however cause significant problems including
- pain and discomfort¬†
- bleeding when visiting the toilet
- pain during sexual intercourse.¬†
- problems with bowel control while the area is healing. Symptoms can include a feeling of urgency to empty the bowel so that it is difficult to ‚Äėhold on‚Äô. There may be poor control of wind, difficulty wiping clean or loss of solid or liquid stools.
Evidence suggests that approximately one to three percent of women having a vaginal birth will sustain a third or fourth-degree tear. It is slightly more common for those giving birth vaginally for the first time, with a rate of 6 percent compared with two percent for those who have had a vaginal birth before