There are many problems that can arise for a mother during labour and birth, and some of these may have a lasting and severe impact.

The medical professionals who take care of a woman in labour are bound by codes of conduct that govern their actions. Care that falls below the standards that can be reasonably expected of them may become the subject of legal proceedings. Such cases are required to establish that a competent professional could have handled this particular birth without a negative outcome, and that the injury caused to the woman was due to the negligence of the professional in question.


It is not uncommon for a mother during the birth process to sustain a tear as the baby descends through the birth canal. Tears are categorised as follows:

  •  First-degree tears– scratches or grazes that affect only the outer skin and usually heal naturally within a short period of time.
    •    Second-degree tears – tears that involve muscle as well as skin, usually requiring the perineum to be stitched.
    •    Third-degree tears – tears that involve more significant damage, extending through the vaginal wall and perineum.
    •    Fourth-degree tear – the most extensive type of tear, where damage extends to the anus or rectum.

All can occur as part of the natural process of birth, but if correct medical advice or procedures are not followed, injury to the mother may be more significant than it would have been with appropriate medical care. Where such tears are caused by lack of appropriate medical intervention or where the medical care provided proves to be negligent a mother will be entitled to bring a case for negligence.


An episiotomy is a cut or incision that is intended to reduce the risk of tearing by enlarging the vaginal opening and making it easier for the baby’s head or shoulders to emerge. Episiotomy was used routinely in the past, but today is usually only used as an emergency procedure. Episiotomies, if performed incorrectly or repaired badly, can cause lasting pain and trauma to the mother.

Episiotomies may also fail to prevent tearing, and if this happens, the tear will usually be more extensive than it might have been if left to occur naturally.

How to Proceed with your case

If you feel that you may be entitled to bring a case as a result of an injury sustained due to the negligence of a medical professional, it is important to consult with a solicitor experienced in this area of law.

At S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, we have 35 year’s experience in dealing with claims of this type and are sensitive to the burden that such litigation places on the claimant. This is why we take the time to understand the impact such injuries have on our clients everyday life and wellbeing.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.



S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, 6, Bindon Street, Ennis, Co.Clare.

Telephone: 065 – 6820620. Email:

We guarantee to return calls within one business day.