Giving birth to a larger than average baby will increase the risk of a 3rd degree tear. For some patients their baby will be so large that an elective C-section is recommended.
Giving birth to a large baby
Having a larger than average baby is known medically as ‘macrosomia’. Anyone can give birth to a large baby, although it is more common in women with diabetes/gestational diabetes.
This is because the high blood sugar levels will be passed to the unborn baby during pregnancy, boosting growth. Women with diabetes often find their babies have particularly big bellies, which can make a vaginal delivery difficult.
Indeed, the vaginal opening may not be able to stretch far enough in order to permit the safe passage of the baby. If so the perineum will rip, resulting in a perineal tear. If the injury extends into the anal sphincter complex, there will be a 3rd or 4th degree tear.
Where there is a large baby an episiotomy and assisted delivery may be needed. Unfortunately this will not prevent a perineal tear, and can actually increase the risk of a perineal tear further.
Will I need an elective C-section?
Whether a patient has diabetes or not, the size of her unborn baby should be monitored throughout the pregnancy. If the baby is thought to weigh more than 10lbs, medical practitioners should recommend an elective caesarean section.
Ultimately it is up to the patient whether she tries for a vaginal delivery or opts for an elective C-section. However, doctors must make her aware of all the options and all the risks.
Tear could have been prevented
If doctors fail to recognise that a woman has a larger than average baby, causing her to sustain a severe tear, the standard of care may be considered negligent.
Additionally, if doctors are aware that a woman has a larger than average baby but fail to recommend a C-section/advise her of the risks, the standard of care may be considered negligent.
If your tear could have been prevented with better medical care, you need to find out whether you have been the victim of medical negligence.
Professional legal advice
To talk to a solicitor about your 3rd or 4th degree tear, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. We specialise in this area of the law and offer expert legal advice, free of charge.