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Childbirth injury – the hidden trauma

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists estimate that up to 90% of women suffer some kind of tear during their first vaginal birth.

For the majority this may be a small tear, an episiotomy (a small cut made during the delivery) or a graze.

However in the UK, more serious tears – a third or fourth degree tear (also known as an obstetric anal sphincter injury) occur in approximately 6% of women during a first vaginal birth and 2% of women who have previously had a vaginal birth.

Sadly, severe perineal tears are sometimes missed by medical staff following deliveries, with very serious consequences. If diagnosed and repaired immediately following the delivery the outcome is often very good, even in the most severe cases.

However for some women who suffer a delay in diagnosis and repair of these tears, this results in life changing symptoms which include incontinence.

These symptoms can have a devastating effect on all areas of a woman’s life including her ability to enjoy and bond with her new baby, her relationship with her partner, her social and working life.

A lot of women are too embarrased to seek help and are also unsure whether their symptoms are normal after giving birth.

Some women also feel that when they do seek help, they are ignored or advised that their symptoms are to be expected and will improve, leading to further delays in treatment.

If you have any concerns about the medical care you, or a family member have received, then please contact us for a confidential, no obligation discussion about your options. Call 01302 320621 or email: