Many people experience tearing in the perineum during childbirth (the diamond-shaped area between the vagina and the anus). Small, skin-deep tears are known as first-degree tears and usually require stitches,although not always. Deeper tears always require stitches. Perineal trauma can occur during childbirth and can involve damage to the anal sphincters and the tissue lining the anal canal. Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) include third- and fourth-degree perineal tears and occur in 7-8 per cent of births in Nova Scotia. Third-degree tears involve a partial or complete disruption of the anal sphincter muscles. Fourth-degree tears also involve disruption of the tissue lining the anal canal
If you have OASIS, issues related to healing after childbirth, pelvic floor dysfunction or in simpler terms bladder, bowel and other pelvic floor symptoms you may benefit from referral to the Healthy Recover from Childbirth Clinic (HRCC) at IWK Health.
Referral can be made for patients that have a history of or recent third- or fourth-degree tears in the perineum related to childbirth or for patient who have had difficulty with wound healing. While many will go on to recover without intervention, if there is pain or problematic healing or other bowel or urinary symptoms after delivery your healthcare provider may wish to refer you to this clinic for specialized assessment and care.
Your HRCC Visit
You may be assessed by a physician, physiotherapist with specialized training, and/or nurses.