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Vaginal Tear During Birth

Our friendly clinical negligence team have years of experience in dealing with cases relating to childbirth tearing and are recognised for their success in making maternity negligence, birth injury and gynaecological claims.

Vaginal tear during birth

Tearing of the vagina during birth (also known as a perineal tear) is common, especially amongst mothers having their first baby. If you have sustained a tear, it is vital that this is found and treated correctly.

Unfortunately, in some rare circumstances, treatment for childbirth tearing is proved to have been negligent or inadequate. If this is the case for you, we could help you to claim compensation.

To speak to one of our team, with no obligation to proceed, call us on 0330 100 1014 or fill out our online form.

What is a birth tear?

Vaginal tearing during birth is when the perineum, located between the vagina and the anus, sustains a tear. It can be either a natural tear – for example, due to a large baby – or the result of an episiotomy, where a midwife or obstetrician makes a cut to allow for the baby to be delivered more easily.

Tearing in labour is common, particularly in mothers giving birth to their first child as the vagina often does not stretch as easily. In fact, around 85% of women suffer some form of tear when giving birth. Thankfully, many tears heal without complications, provided that they are treated correctly and in a timely manner, but they can still have a substantial effect on a woman’s future continence and sexual function.

What causes vaginal tearing in labour?

There are a few risk factors which might mean that you’re more likely to suffer from a vaginal tear during birth:

  • It’s your first vaginal birth
  • You have a large baby
  • Your labour is induced
  • The second stage of labour is longer than one hour
  • You have an assisted delivery (via forceps or ventouse)
  • Your baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind your pubic bone
  • You have had an episiotomy (a small incision made in the perineum to increase the outlet space for the delivery of the baby)

Types of childbirth tearing

There are various types and severities of tears suffered during labour and, while some tears heal naturally and require very little treatment, others require surgical intervention or suturing.

Birth tears are categorised in four degrees, depending on their severity:

  • 1st-degree birth tears: these are the least severe and stitches are often not needed although, in some cases, suturing may still be necessary. They involve the skin of the perineum and either the tissue around the opening of the vagina or the outmost layer of the vagina itself. No muscle is damaged and these tears usually heal quickly and naturally and cause minimal discomfort. However, a 1st-degree birth tear can still result in a small amount of pain.
  • 2nd-degree birth tears: These types of tears generally go a bit deeper and affect both the muscle and skin. 2nd-degree tears suffered in labour tend to need stitches and can take two-to-four weeks to heal.
  • 3rd-degree birth tears: These involve a tear in the vaginal tissue, perineal skin and muscle. The area extends to the muscle around the anus (anal sphincter). 3rd-degree birth tears take longer to heal, with some taking months. Sometimes, longer-term issues can occur such as infection and anal incontinence.
  • 4th-degree birth tears: The most severe, these types of tears involve the muscle underneath the anal sphincter. They often need to be treated and repaired in the operating theatre rather than the delivery room. 4th-degree birth tears generally take the longest to heal and, like 3rd-degree tears, can result in longer-term problems.

Whether your injury is a small abrasion or a deep laceration, if your tear has been caused by inadequate or negligent treatment received during childbirth, we can advise on your best course of action.

Call our experienced perineal tear claims team now on 0330 100 1014 to see if we can help you to make a claim.

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Vaginal mesh (TVT) claims

We are also currently representing several women who have undergone vaginal mesh or TVT surgery and have since experienced complications and health issues. Vaginal mesh or TVT (transvaginal tape) is used to treat urinary stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women after childbirth, issues that can sometimes be caused by tearing in labour.

Mesh implants have been widely used in surgery across the UK as implanting them was seen as a less invasive procedure with a shorter recovery time. However, an increasing number of women have reported complications following vaginal mesh or TVT surgery.

If you are experiencing any symptoms and feel that you may have a claim, visit our Vaginal Mesh Claims page. Alternatively, fill out our online form or call 0330 100 1014.

How we can help

We understand that you may be reluctant to talk about any injuries sustained as a result of childbirth tearing, but this can often result in many years of pain and distress. This is especially true if you’ve suffered physically and/or emotionally as a result of negligence due to improper treatment of your tear or failure to recognise complications.

Whatever effects you’ve suffered after tearing during birth, if your medical staff failed in their duty of care, then we could help you to make a claim. Our friendly perineal tear claims team are specialised in dealing with these types of claims and will listen to your experience with empathy and understanding. We will take the time to help you to decide whether you have a case and whether you want to proceed in claiming compensation.

Your initial chat is completely free and you’re under no obligation to continue, should you choose not to do so.

Call our considerate and expert professionals on 0330 100 1014 and one of our team will go through the details of your case and explain the next steps, if you want to pursue them.

Can I make a claim for perineal tear compensation?

You could make a perineal tear claim if:

  • You were not properly advised or informed before suffering a tear
  • Reasonable steps were not taken to reduce the risk or severity of childbirth tearing
  • The severity of your tear was not diagnosed correctly
  • The tear that you suffered during birth was not treated properly or in a prompt manner
  • Post-birth tear complications were missed or misdiagnosed

There is also a range of other situations which could mean that your medical team were negligent. If you’re unsure whether you have a case to make a perineal tear claim, our expert solicitors can discuss your individual situation with you.

Why should I make a birth tear compensation claim?

Some people are understandably discouraged from making a claim due to the nature and sensitivity of the subject. However, if you’ve suffered due to negligent treatment or lack of care, then you could claim compensation that might help you to move forward with your life.

Making a perineal tear claim can highlight any gaps in care and identify what went wrong, meaning that the mistakes made are less likely to happen again in the future. Compensation awarded can also:

  • Help to cover costs due to loss of income related to complications
  • Help with travel expenses such as to and from medical appointments
  • Cover any costs of counselling or therapy

Get in touch on 0330 100 1014 or fill out our online form.

How can I fund my claim?

We take most cases on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, so you will not have to worry about having to pay anything unless your claim is successful. There are also a number of other ways in which you can fund your claim with us, which our team will be happy to discuss with you during your initial chat.

How much compensation could I receive?

It’s difficult to say exactly how much compensation you could receive from a perineal tear claim as the amount will depend on a few factors such as:

  • The severity of any avoidable injury or complication
  • The impact on your lifestyle
  • Any loss of earnings that are directly related
  • Any other incurred treatment costs

Every case relating to vaginal birth tears is treated individually and, as such, compensation amounts can vary. The Judicial College Guidelines will be used to help to decide upon the final settlement amount.

Why choose Freeths to peruse your perineal tear claim?

Our experts have years of experience in dealing with cases relating to childbirth tearing and our friendly clinical negligence team are recognised for their success in making maternity negligence, birth injury and gynaecological claims.

  • You can rely on our lawyers to listen with empathy, treat your situation sensitively and leave you to focus on the future.
  • We know that each case is unique and that’s why we treat every client as an individual, getting to know their story and experience.
  • We have three lawyers who are members of the AvMA Panel as well as three Law Society accredited lawyers.
  • We have 13 offices across the UK, so you can access our expert teams wherever you are.
  • We are ranked by top legal industry companies, The Legal 500 and Chambers.
  • We’ve gained multiple awards and accreditations for our commitment and dedicated to high standards of service and advice.
  • We offer specialist knowledge to help to answer your questions and secure adequate compensation.

You can benefit from FREE initial telephone advice, a FREE first interview, and advice on funding.

Successful claims

Here are some examples of the compensation that our gynaecological team have secured for our clients:

  • Successfully represented a group of women pursuing gynaecological claims, arising from treatment by the same surgeon, including negotiating a protocol to resolve these cases.
  • Securing £350,000 for a woman who sustained internal injuries during a routine gynaecological procedure. She suffers from ongoing abdominal pain and discomfort. She also required funding for fertility treatment.

"Karen Reynolds is well respected for her 'straight-talking and likeable manner with clients'. She focuses on obstetrics, gynaecology and cerebral palsy claims"

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Meet the team

Carolyn Lowe's Profile

Carolyn Lowe

Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence for the South

Karen Reynolds's Profile

Karen Reynolds

Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence for Derby, West Midlands & North West

Jane Williams's Profile

Jane Williams

Partner, Head of Medical Negligence, East Midlands & North East

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