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Birth complications “twice as common” in some hospitals

An audit has revealed that women giving birth in some hospitals are twice as likely to experience birth complications.

According to an audit of Maternity Services in Great Britain, women are twice as likely to suffer serious blood loss and severe birth tears in certain hospitals.

The audit covered 149 out of 155 NHS trusts and boards in England, Scotland and Wales.

It shows that while most women experience a safe birth without complications, there was some variation in care across the country.

For example, Third and fourth-degree tears occur in one in 30 vaginal births. But, in some units in 2015-16 it was one in 15.

At the Royal Sussex County Hospital, part of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, 6.5% of women were affected, compared with 0.6% at Dr Gray's Hospital, NHS Grampian.

Vaginal tears in child birth

Many women experience tears during childbirth but these are usually first-degree tears which are small and tend to heal quickly.

A tear that also involves the muscle that controls the anus (the anal sphincter) is known as a third-degree tear.

If the tear extends further into the lining of the anus or rectum it is known as a fourth-degree tear. These tears can be very serious and can increase the risk of incontinence

Haemorrhage during childbirth

The audit also found that haemorrhage during childbirth, a major cause of illness in women who have given birth, occurred in about one in 40 women.

However, in some maternity units the rate was as high as one in 20.

Haemorrhaging (bleeding) that occurs during and after childbirth can be a major hazard if severe, and will need immediate medical attention.

Unexplained variation needs investigation

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said some variation was expected but unexplained variation needed investigation.

"We urge all maternity units to examine their own results and those of their neighbours both to identify role models and to drive quality improvement locally."

The results of this audit are shocking to say the least.

At Swain & Co we represent many women who have suffered birth complications that could have been avoided.

Birth complications can be incredibly serious.

Here at Swain & Co Solicitors we successfully handle cases for clients who have suffered at the hands of medical professionals. If you would like to bring a claim involving a complication experienced during or after childbirth, we can provide free advice.

Call today for free on 0800 0351 999.

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