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Vaginal Lacerations

Chicago medical malpractice lawyer for vaginal tears during birth

Injuries to the Vagina or Perineum During Birth - Illinois Medical Negligence Lawyers

Childbirth is a not without risk, and it can result in long-lasting injuries. While steps are usually taken to avoid harm to a child during delivery, it is also important to address injuries that may be suffered by the mother. Vaginal lacerations are one type of injury that mothers experience, and doctors and nurses should take steps to avoid the risk of complications and other serious conditions that can occur as a result.

Types of Vaginal Lacerations

Some tearing of the perineum (the tissue located between the vagina and the anus) is common during birth, and in some cases, a doctor may perform an incision in this tissue, which is known as an episiotomy. Lacerations of vaginal tissue typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • First degree laceration - Only the top layer of skin is torn, and stitches may or may not be needed.
  • Second degree laceration - The skin of the perineum and tissues of the vagina and pelvic floor muscles are torn, and stitches are typically required to close the wound.
  • Third degree laceration - The tear in the tissue of the vagina and pelvic floor muscles extends to the muscles surrounding the anus. Surgery may be required to address this type of laceration.
  • Fourth degree laceration - The tear extends through the anus or the anal sphincter muscles. This type of injury will usually require surgical correction.
  • Other lacerations - In some cases, a mother may experience tears near the urethra, in the cervix or labia, or in other vaginal tissue. Stitches may or may not be needed for these types of lacerations.

If vaginal lacerations are not repaired correctly, they can result in complications such as infections or post-partum hemorrhaging, and they can have long-term effects such as urinary or fecal incontinence or chronic pain. In serious cases, a mother may experience a recto-vaginal fistula, in which there is an opening between the rectum and the vagina, or pelvic organ prolapse, in which parts of the uterus or bladder protrude through the vagina.

Causes of Vaginal Lacerations

While some tearing of tissue often occurs during delivery, there are a variety of factors that can increase the risk or severity of these types of injuries, including:

  • Macrosomia - A large child may cause tearing when it moves through the birth canal. If the size of the infant is a concern, a Cesarean delivery may be necessary to avoid injuries to the mother.
  • Malpresentation - Ideally, a child should be delivered head-first while facing toward the mother's back. If delivery is attempted when the child is in the breech position or is facing forward, this increases the risk of vaginal lacerations.
  • Prolonged labor - If the mother is in labor for a long period of time or experiences prolonged pushing, she is more likely to experience tearing.
  • Assisted delivery - When forceps or vacuum extractors are used to help the child move through the birth canal, these tools may cause lacerations to vaginal tissue.

Vaginal lacerations can be very painful, and they can result in long-lasting health complications for a mother. They may also result in devastating emotional injuries and sexual dysfunction. During labor and delivery, medical personnel should take steps to prevent tearing, and if lacerations do occur, they should be repaired promptly and effectively.

If you suffered vaginal tearing or any other complications during birth, this can have long-term effects on your health and well-being. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we can review your case, determine whether medical negligence was a factor in your injury, and help you understand your options for receiving the ongoing medical care and financial assistance your family needs. Contact our office at 312-945-1300 to schedule a free consultation today.

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