If you have suffered a third degree tear while giving birth, you should be told how best to promote healing.
Healing after a perineal tear
There are certain things you can do to encourage the healing process after a third degree tear. You should be advised of these by a doctor or midwife before leaving hospital. This might include advice such as:
- Maintain good hygiene to keep the area free from infection
- Allow air to get to the perineum
- Pelvic floor exercise to strengthen the muscles
- Take laxatives on a temporary basis to ease the passing of stools while the stitches are still present
- Take antibiotics to prevent infection
- Avoid sexual intercourse until the area has fully healed
- Attend post-natal check-ups
- Attend GP if any abnormalities arise – e.g. smelly discharge
If these measures are followed, it is very likely that a third degree tear will heal successfully within a matter of weeks.
Repair of third degree tear
However, when it comes to the healing of third degree tears, the single most important factor is a good repair. Indeed, third degree tears must be repaired in theatre by an experienced surgeon shortly after the birth. Only with such treatment can a woman hope to make a full recovery.
If the injury does not heal well even with a good repair, it is extremely unfortunate. Nevertheless, it is not the fault of medical practitioners as they will have provided a reasonable standard of care – namely, diagnosing the injury and carrying out an immediate repair.
On the other hand, the injury does not heal well because a repair was not performed, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Claiming for a third degree tear
If your third degree tear has not healed properly because the injury was not diagnosed and repaired, you need to speak to a solicitor without delay. Failing to diagnose and treat a serious perineal tear will be deemed negligent. If this has caused you to suffer further injury – such as faecal urgency and/or incontinence – there will be a case of medical negligence, meaning you will be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.
To talk to a solicitor today, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are a specialist clinical negligence law firm with a particular interest in birth injury claims. We have handled a significant number of third degree tear claims, making us well-placed to assist.