During childbirth, there are some injuries that can occur if the process is not carried out safely. Vaginal tear claims are common in situations where new mothers have experienced a tear to their perineum because of negligent medical care. If this has happened to you, then we can help you to get the compensation that you deserve.

What is a perineal or vaginal tear?

A tear to the vagina or perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) is a common injury that some women suffer from during childbirth. While minor tears are very common – affecting around 90 percent of mothers – they do tend to heal quite quickly. Unfortunately, some severe cases can lead to long recovery times and make it difficult to care for a new-born during this time. If it was due to a doctors mistake, or a mistake made by a midwife, then you may be able to claim for compensation. If left untreated, a perineal tear can cause persistent pain, bladder, bowel and sphincter issues, faecal incontinence, and flatulence. Sitting and passing urine can be painful. As well as the physical impact, a childbirth tear can also have a serious impact on the psychological wellbeing of a new mother. Sometimes a fistula can develop between the anus and the vagina after the tear has healed and may require surgery. Scar tissue can develop once the tear has healed. In extreme cases, a woman may require a temporary colostomy.

What are the recognised risk factors?

Recognised risk factors for tearing during childbirth include:

  • A baby that weighs more than 4kg
  • Induction
  • Epidural
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Long second stage labour
  • Forceps delivery
  • Midline episiotomy
  • Occipitoposterior position

The Royal College of Gynaecology classifies degrees of perineal tear as:

1st degree tear: this is an injury to the perineal skin and/or the vaginal mucosa

2nd degree tear: this is an injury to the perineum that involves the perineal muscles but not involving the anal sphincter.

3rd degree tear: this is a tear that involves the skin, the back of the vagina and the muscles of the perineum being torn, extending to the anal sphincter. 3rd or 4th degree tears require stitches to be closed.

4th degree tear: this is a tear that is the same as a 3rd degree tear but extends to the rectum to include a tear in both the vagina and the anus. This requires stitches to treat. Third- and fourth-degree tears are generally repaired in theatre with either local or general anaesthetic.

Read more on our Birth Negligence Compensation Claims page.

What are vaginal tear compensation claims?

You can claim for compensation for a vaginal or perineal tear if you can prove that it is due to a medical error that could have been avoided. Substandard care from a doctor or midwife can include:

  • Delay in diagnosing a tear
  • Failure to take steps before or during childbirth to minimise the risk of tearing
  • Failure to properly diagnose and repair a tear immediately following a delivery
  • Not appreciating the risk factors for perineal tears and failure to advise properly before giving birth

If you have suffered from any kind of negligence during childbirth that has led to more long-term issues, then you will be able to claim for compensation.

Get in touch with our specialist solicitors for a chat about your situation.

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FAQ

What is a perineal tear?

A tear to the vagina or perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) is a common injury that some women suffer from during childbirth.

What are the causes of vaginal and perineal tear?

Recognised risk factors for tearing during childbirth include:

- A baby that weighs more than 4kg
- Induction
- Epidural
- Shoulder dystocia
- Long second stage labour
- Forceps delivery
- Midline episiotomy
- Occipitoposterior position

What are the common claims for perineal tear?

The claim that perineal tear is categorised under is as a medical negligence claim, which can differ in claim value.