Recently, the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in London have published new evidence-based guidelines on the caring for women who suffer a 3rd or 4th degree tear during childbirth (www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/rcog-release-updated-guidance-on-the-diagnosis-management-and-treatment-of-third–and-fourth–degree-perineal-tears).
3rd and 4th degree tears involve the sphincter muscle near the rectum and occur in approximately 1-in-25 vaginal births. This type of tear needs to be carefully repaired under anaesthetic by an experienced obstetrician, to minimise the risk of long-term problems with bowel control. Women who have suffered this tear are naturally anxious in a future pregnancy and the best delivery plan for each individual patient needs careful consideration.
From 2009 to 2011, Dr. Colin Walsh helped to run a weekly Perineal Tear clinic at St George Hospital in Sydney. This is one of the few clinics in Sydney dedicated solely to looking after women following a 3rd/4th degree tear and offering advice on future pregnancy management. This experience makes Dr. Walsh very knowledgeable on this particular complication (www.shoreforwomen.com.au/previous-3rd-degree-anal-sphincter-tear)
If you are worried about the risk of a 3rd or 4th degree tear during childbirth, or have previously suffered one of these tears and seek advice on the best delivery plan for you in a current pregnancy, we would be happy to see you at SHORE for Women to discuss your options.