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Episiotomy Complications

Episiotomy Complications

While episiotomies used to be performed by way of routine, they are now usually only carried out in certain circumstances. Nevertheless, we continue to hear from women who have sadly been left with additional health complications due to episiotomy-related medical negligence. If this has happened to you, you need to speak to a solicitor.

What is an Episiotomy?

An episiotomy is a cut made deliberately to a woman's perineum, and is made when a vagina needs to be widened during birth. This may be because: the baby is breech or stuck behind the mother's pubic bone, the labour is prolonged, or there are signs of distress to either mother or baby meaning an assisted delivery is needed.

How is an Episiotomy Performed?

If the decision is taken to perform an episiotomy, medical staff will administer adequate pain relief in the form of local anaesthetic, or will 'top up' the dose of epidural anaesthetic. Either a midwife or an obstetrician will then make a cut to the perineum. Previously, this would have been made straight downwards from the back of the vagina. This is called a midline episiotomy. However, nowadays the mediolateral approach is considered to safer, whereby the cut is made diagonally. This reduces the risk of complications. Once the baby has been delivered, the cut will then be stitched back together using dissolvable stitches.

Does an Episiotomy Carry Any Risks?

Episiotomies do carry some risks, and even mediolateral episiotomies can lead to additional health complaints for a woman. Although there is some debate around the issue, episiotomies are generally thought to increase the risk of third degree tears, which can cause an array of problems in the months (or even years) after the birth. These can include urinary or anal incontinence, chronic pain and repeated infection.

Furthermore, if episiotomy stitches are done to a poor standard, the recovery process may be seriously hindered. However, even if a woman does not experience a tear or negligent stitching, episiotomies can cause a woman to suffer prolonged pain, crushing injuries or uncomfortable scar tissue.

Episiotomy Complications Caused by Medical Negligence

Unfortunately, some episiotomies result in problems that could not have been avoided. However, there are occasions when complications arise due to medical negligence. In such an event, it may be possible for a woman to make a medical negligence claim. Most commonly, episiotomy-related claims occur because of:-

  • An unnecessarily performed episiotomy;
  • A poorly performed episiotomy;
  • Negligent stitching;
  • An episiotomy which has lead to a severe tear;
  • An episiotomy which has lead to on-going health problems, such as pain or incontinence.

If you believe you have been the victim of a substandard level of care, you need to speak to a solicitor without delay. A medical negligence solicitor will be able to assess your case before advising you whether or not you have a claim. If you do, you will be entitled to pursue a claim, meaning you could receive a sum of compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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