A number of factors can increase the chances of suffering a severe perineal tear during childbirth. Unfortunately, diabetes can be a significant factor.
Risk factors in perineal injury
It is likely that having diabetes could influence the chances of a woman suffering a severe perineal tear during childbirth.
The risk factors for experiencing a severe tear during childbirth include the following:
- A larger than average baby
- Shoulder dystocia
A woman who is diabetic will probably carry a baby which is larger than usual. This, in turn, could increase the chances of shoulder dystocia occurring during the course of the birth.
Having diabetes is a risk factor in experiencing should dystocia during childbirth.
Shoulder dystocia is when the baby’s head presents for delivery successfully, but one of the baby’s shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, delaying the birth. This is an emergency situation as it is vital to complete the delivery of the baby for its own safety and the attending medical professionals will probably need to intervene to assist the baby’s passage through the vagina. This is usually successful but may result in the mother suffering a severe obstetric tear.
What is a severe obstetric tear?
Perineal tears are common during childbirth.
Severe obstetric tears are, thankfully, much less common. Unless they are promptly diagnosed after the birth and competently and fully repaired in an operating theatre, they are likely to lead to a lifetime of bowel problems such as wind and faecal urgency or incontinence.
Third and fourth degree tears which damage the anus and can cause such damage are more likely to occur where shoulder dystocia is a factor in the birth.
Diagnosis of severe tears
According to the guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, all women should undergo a thorough examination after childbirth including a digital, rectal examination to check for anal damage.
When the woman giving birth is known to be suffering with diabetes, this is particularly important, as she may be more likely to have experienced a severe third or fourth degree tear.
If no examination is carried out or it fails to identify significant damage, the new mother will not receive the care she needs.
In this situation, she is likely to start to experience problems with her bowels within a very short space of time. Unfortunately, delayed surgery is less likely to be as successful in resolving damage as prompt surgery shortly after the birth.
A failure to diagnose a severe tear leaving a woman with long-term debilitating symptoms may be considered to have been negligent.
If you are suffering with the effects of an unrepaired severe tear, contact us to discuss your situation with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. It may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.