Format

Send to

Choose Destination
BJOG. 2013 Nov;120(12):1516-25. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12363. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Third- and fourth-degree perineal tears among primiparous women in England between 2000 and 2012: time trends and risk factors.

Author information

1
Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Office for Research and Clinical Audit, Lindsay Stewart R&D Centre, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the trends of severe perineal tears in England and to investigate to what extent the changes in related risk factors could explain the observed trends.

DESIGN:

A retrospective cohort study of singleton deliveries from a national administrative database.

SETTING:

The English National Health Service between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2012.

POPULATION:

A cohort of 1 035 253 primiparous women who had a singleton, term, cephalic, vaginal birth.

METHODS:

Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the impact of financial year of birth (labelled by starting year), adjusting for major risk factors.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

The rate of third-degree (anal sphincter is torn) or fourth-degree (anal sphincter as well as rectal mucosa are torn) perineal tears.

RESULTS:

The rate of reported third- or fourth-degree perineal tears tripled from 1.8 to 5.9% during the study period. The rate of episiotomy varied between 30 and 36%. An increasing proportion of ventouse deliveries (from 67.8 to 78.6%) and non-instrumental deliveries (from 15.1 to 19.1%) were assisted by an episiotomy. A higher risk of third- or fourth-degree perineal tears was associated with a maternal age above 25 years, instrumental delivery (forceps and ventouse), especially without episiotomy, Asian ethnicity, a more affluent socio-economic status, higher birthweight, and shoulder dystocia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Changes in major risk factors are unlikely explanations for the observed increase in the rate of third- or fourth-degree tears. The improved recognition of tears following the implementation of a standardised classification of perineal tears is the most likely explanation.

KEYWORDS:

Episiotomy; instrumental delivery; severe perineal trauma; trends; vaginal delivery

PMID:
23834484
DOI:
10.1111/1471-0528.12363
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center