Pelvic floor and anal sphincter trauma should be key performance indicators of maternity services
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There is an increasing awareness of maternal somatic birth trauma, which affects many more women than previously thought, primarily in the form of anal sphincter and levator ani tears. Given that such trauma occurs in about one-third of all women giving birth vaginally for the first time, and given that it has serious long-term consequences, it should be audited by all maternity services with a view to providing remedial therapy to delay or prevent subsequent morbidity, and to facilitate practice improvement. The increasing availability of modern imaging equipment and the skills of using it for pelvic floor assessment means that it is now becoming possible to provide such services postnatally.
KeywordsAnal sphincter trauma Levator ani Birth Key performance indicator Birth trauma Pelvic floor
Financial disclaimer/Conflicts of interest
H.P. Dietz: has received unrestricted educational grants from GE Medical. J. Pardey: nil. H. Murray: nil.
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