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Risk factors for anal tears.

Researchers have identified a number of obstetric interventions that significantly increase a woman's risk of suffering anal sphincter tears during birth. The study examined data from 797 first time mothers: 407 with an anal sphincter tear and 390 without.

Analyses revealed that, compared with other women, women with a sphincter tear were more likely to be older, to be white, to have longer gestations or a prolonged second stage of labor, to have a larger infant, or an infant who was in the occiput posterior position.

An anal sphincter tear was also more likely to occur in women who had an episiotomy or a forceps assisted birth than women who did not receive these procedures. Logistic regression revealed that women who had forceps assisted birth (odds ratio [OR]=I 3.6) and episiotomy (OR 5.3) were significantly more likely to experience a sphincter tear than other women.

Women who had both a episiotomy and a forceps delivery were markedly more likely to suffer an anal sphincter tear than other women (OR 25.3). The study authors concluded "Our results may be used by clinicians and women to help inform their decisions regarding obstetric interventions."


FitzGerald, Mary, et. al. 2007. "Risk Factors for Anal Sphincter Tear During Vaginal Delivery." Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 108: 29-34.
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Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2006
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