Birth Injuries - Perineal Tears

Perineal tears (ie, tearing of the area between the vagina and anus) are birth injuries that happen during the second stage of labour as the baby is being delivered. However, they are not diagnosed until the third stage of labour, ie after the baby is born.

Perineal tears are graded from 1st degree to 4th degree according to their severity and are usually caused when the baby is delivered before the perineum has had a chance to slowly stretch widely enough to allow the baby to be born, or because the perineum is already scarred due to a previous injury causing it to be less stretchy than would be expected. This over-stretching of the perineum can result in birth injury to the perineum.

Continue reading about perineal tears.


Birth Trauma: Causes of Shoulder Dystocia | BreastfeedingMums.com

Shoulder dystocia cannot usually be predicted in advance and there is a certain degree of risk that it will occur during any full-term birth. However, there are a few risk factors that appear to predispose the problem in some cases. These include:

  • Delivering a Big Baby - There are lots of reasons why a baby may be larger than normal. It may simply be hereditary or it could be due to conditions such as diabetes, a pregnancy that has exceeded 42 weeks,or there may be congenital causes. Alternatively, it may be that the baby is a normal size but the maternal pelvis is smaller than average.

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Birth Trauma: Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a traumatic experience for both the labouring mother, her baby and her partner. It refers to when one of the baby's shoulders gets stuck behind the pelvic bone and prevents the baby's body being born. (see shoulder dystocia video)

Shoulder dystocia can happen at any time during either a normal or instrumental birth; it can even occasionally occur during a c-section.

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