What is a Perineal Birth Injury?
The perineum is the area between the genitals and anus. Most women will experience some tearing in the perineum during childbirth, and it typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal. While perineal tears generally are nothing to worry about, there can be long-term complications in the case of a severe tear. Here’s what you need to know.
The Types of Perineal Tears
Perineal tears can happen naturally as the vagina and perineum stretch during childbirth. There are different degrees of a perineal tear:
- First-degree - Small tears which only affect the skin.
- Second-degree - These tears affect the muscle and the skin and typically do not cause long-term problems, but mothers may feel increased soreness.
- Third-degree - Tears in the muscles that control the anus.
- Fourth-degree - Tears that extend into the lining of the anus or rectum — the least common but most severe.
How Do Perineal Tears Occur?
The following are the most common reasons for perineal tears:
- It’s the mother’s first delivery
- The baby is face-up during delivery
- Use of forceps during delivery
- Use of vacuum extraction during delivery
Long-Term Effects of a Severe Perineal Birth Injury
According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a mother may experience the following long-term problems after a perineal tear:
- Urinary or anal incontinence
- Delayed return to sexual intercourse
- Flatal incontinence
The NCBI article also noted that multiple studies found that some women who experience severe perineal tears have long-term psychological trauma and social isolation.
If You or Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury, We Can Help.
Big cases require big resources. At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, our lawyers are experienced in handling complex and challenging birth injury cases. If you or your baby has suffered a birth injury, we are here to help you get through a difficult time.
Not only can a birth injury be emotionally taxing, but it can also be financially straining when it comes to medical care costs. We are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve and need so you can move forward with your life.
Call (502) 242-8872 to speak to one of our lawyers today.