What are gynaecological & obstetric Injuries?
2 minute read
Perineal or vaginal tears can occur during childbirth as a result of the baby’s head passing through the mother’s birth canal or, as a result of the use of instruments used to assist in the delivery. Often the trauma is not serious and can be identified and repaired without the risk of future complications.
Tears are classified according to definitions universally accepted by obstetricians and range from first degree to fourth degree tears. First and second degree tears are almost invariably easily identified and repaired without causing any undue difficulty for the mother. Third and fourth degree tears though can be extremely severe and will require extensive suturing and follow up to prevent devastating symptoms developing.
These severe tears can sometimes be missed and left unrepaired resulting in serious consequences for the mother. Women who have suffered from traumatic perineal tears are often reluctant to discuss their symptoms believing that vaginal or anal sphincter injury is a necessary part of having a baby or they are simply too embarrassed by their symptoms that they suffer in silence.
Symptoms can include perineal pain, incontinence of flatus (wind) and faeces and painful sexual intercourse. For some women these symptoms can last for years and cause them suffering, pain and loss of dignity. It is vital that injuries to the perineum are correctly identified in the delivery room and that expert advice is sought by midwives and doctors attending deliveries.