It may seem surprising but the process of a vaginal birth can, in a minority of cases, cause damage to the mother sufficient to result in incontinence of wind and faeces. Accurate diagnosis is absolutely crucial.
Importance of Diagnosing Perineal Trauma
A small percentage of women suffer a severe anal sphincter injury during the birth of their baby and a failure to diagnose and repair such an injury promptly after the birth can leave the woman with a lifetime of extremely unpleasant symptoms such as wind and faecal incontinence.
If the injury is not diagnosed at all, it will not be repaired.
If the injury is misdiagnosed, such as identifying a 3rd degree tear as a 2nd degree tear, it will mean that the repair is likely to be significantly inadequate, leaving the woman with on-going symptoms.
In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis, it is essential that the woman’s vagina, perineum and anus are examined thoroughly shortly after the birth. As recommended by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, this should include a digital, rectal examination to assess the condition of the anus. This should include an assessment of not just the external anal sphincter, but the internal sphincter and the lining of the anal canal.
Training of midwives
There has been some suggestion that the training of midwives has not always been sufficient in the field of the recognition and repair of perineal trauma.
The classification of perineal tears has been clarified by the RCOG and the precise and accurate assessment according to this classification is vital if the new mother is to receive an appropriate repair.
Failure of diagnosis
If severe perineal trauma is not accurately diagnosed, it is likely to mean that the woman will very shortly begin to experience appalling symptoms which can be life-changing and life-limiting:
- Inability to prevent the passing of wind
- Inability to prevent the passing of faeces
- Urgency when needing the toilet
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Infections of the perineum
If severe perineal trauma is neither diagnosed nor repaired, leaving the woman with significant long-term symptoms, the relevant medical professionals may be considered to have acted negligently.
If you are suffering due to such a scenario, contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor with expertise in supporting perineal tear compensation claims.
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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.