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Maternal Injury Caused by Childbirth

Our medical negligence department has represented numerous women who have suffered from injuries sustained during childbirth, which have resulted in physical as well as psychological damage. 

The compensation we have successfully recovered has helped our clients pay for private corrective surgery, relieving some of the ongoing suffering the injuries can cause.

Perineal Injury

One of the most common injuries during child birth is a tear to the perineum; this is the area between the vagina and the anus.  There are different levels of severity of tear, ranging from a first to a fourth degree tear, the latter of which is the most serious. In many cases these tears are unavoidable and if correctly diagnosed and treated at the time of birth, even the complications from the most serious tears can be limited. 

Unfortunately, however, failures in medical care can occur. There is either a failure that causes very serious tears or there is a failure to recognise and treat a tear in a timely manor.  Both circumstances can result in devastating and traumatic injuries that can cause significant pain, loss of sensation and incontinence.  

Furthermore, some women are more at risk from third and fourth degree tears and the delivery team should take this into consideration and take necessary steps to manage the risks.  In particular, serious tears are more likely in the following situations:

  • A first vaginal delivery
  • A previous vaginal delivery caused a third or fourth degree tear
  • An assisted delivery is required, particularly where forceps are used
  • There is a need for an episiotomy or one was required in a previous delivery
  • The baby is big
  • The baby is born in the posterior position (face-up)
  • The mother is pushing for a long time
  • The distance between the mother’s vaginal opening and anus is shorter than average

Retained Placenta 

It is very important that after a baby is delivered the treating obstetrician or midwife ensures that the entire placenta is also delivered.  If even a proportion of it is retained within the womb it can cause the mother to develop a serious infection and severe complications.  In the most extreme cases an infection can lead to a hysterectomy and consequent infertility.  By investigating claims such as this Dutton Gregory is able to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve.

Injury caused by an assisted delivery

On occasions a labour may fail to progress because the baby has become stuck.  The obstetric team may decide that they need to carry out an assisted delivery, using either ventouse or foreceps.  Inappropriate application of this equipment or excessive force when using them can sometimes cause injury to the mother, including scarring, psychological injury or a perineal injury, as described above.   

Dutton Gregory’s medical negligence team is on hand to offer sympathetic, specialist advice to you and your family in a calm and relaxed manner.