Karen’s story

My story began in October 2010, with the birth of my first child. My baby became distressed and I was given an episiotomy and she was delivered using forceps.

Sadly, I was not adequately assessed by the doctor after delivering and had sustained a substantial 4th degree tear. I was superficially repaired and sent home.


Slide showing NICE classification – from the presentation given by Teresa Arias from King’s College at the MASIC launch meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine on 22 March 2017


6 days later in excruciating pain and having started to pass faeces via my vagina, I was readmitted to hospital with my baby.

After ride in an ambulance I was then transferred to another hospital where a team were assembled to reconstruct my perineum.

I was in hospital for 6 days, mostly confined to bed rest. My husband’s paternity leave was consumed with caring for me and visiting hospital.

I was on bed rest for 8 weeks and very weak. I became socially isolated and soon became depressed. Unable to take my baby out for a walk, play sport, ride horses or sit for long. Why me?

Too soon I had to return to work as I was self employed. I did so with a mountain of pain relief. After suffering panic attacks I finally sought the counselling I needed.

Today, I still attend hospital appointments for my ongoing issues of pain and incontinence. However I have learned to manage my symptoms and have gone on to have a second child by Caesarean section – a walk in the park compared to my first birth experience!

My passions are horse riding and sport which I have returned to and as long as I follow a strict diet and exercise regime of pilates and pelvic floor exercises, I can do them with a smile now.

Jenny’s 10k run for freedom

On Sunday 12 March Jenny ran her first 10km race since her injury, a massive achievement given what she had been through. She said:

Jenny“Seven years ago I was frightened to leave the house for fear of ‘accidents’.

“I struggled with depression and anxiety. Five years ago I underwent two lots of surgery. One year ago I still thought I’d never be able to run or do much in the way of physical activity. I was fit and sporty before the injury, and missed exercise terribly.

“Six months ago a friend suggested we try the “Couch to 5k” training programme together. Slowly and gently (and with an elaborate bowel preparation routine beforehand) I found I could manage.

“I set myself a target to take part in a fundraising 5k in Spring 2017. But then I changed my mind – I wanted a bigger challenge.

“Running 10k today I felt like a real runner, not someone with severe bladder and bowel problems. And, it felt great.

“I hope I can inspire other women with OASIS not to give up hope and that sometimes it’s worth throwing caution to the wind, just to feel normal again.”



Press Release

27 February 2017

Head of National Maternity Review to address meeting on child birth injury

  • Event on 22 March 2017 marks official launch of charity, The MASIC Foundation

Over 200 medical professionals and members of the public will attend a meeting next month to consider how the medical profession can help improve outcomes and modify healthcare policy to reduce the impact of birth injuries on the health of mothers.

The one day event, supported by law firm Leigh Day  and hosted in collaboration with the MASIC Foundation and the Royal Society of Medicine on 22 March 2017, is titled Injuries in childbirth: raising awareness and restoring dignity for mothers.

It will mark the official launch of The MASIC Foundation, a registered charity which supports mothers who experience anal sphincter injuries during childbirth which can often result in bowel incontinence.

Latest statistics[1] suggest that 12.8% of new mothers report faecal incontinence beyond the first 3 months postpartum. The charity, led by one of the UK’s leading colorectal surgeons, Professor Michael Keighley, aims to help mothers who often suffer in silence through embarrassment and the social stigma associated to their symptoms.

The keynote speaker at the event will be Baroness Cumberlege CBE who in 2015 conducted a review of maternity services for NHS England and is head of the National Maternity Review. She will be speaking on ‘Improving the health of the new mother.’

Baroness Cumberlege CBE said:

“Improving the health of new mothers was an important part of the national Maternity review for England.

“The report ‘Better Births’ sets out a clear way forward for mothers, babies and their families. At the event, I will be introducing the report and the progress made since its publication a year ago.

“This promotes both safety and the choices women want to make during antenatal birth and postnatal care.

The MASIC Foundation aims to reduce the incidence of birth injury as well as helping new mothers who may be suffering in silence from its symptoms which are too often hidden in society. These issues are crucial to the future wellbeing of women and their families which I strongly support.”

Over 30 healthcare experts will tackle methods of prevention, better detection of injuries, holistic support for those who are injured as well as treatment through the topics including Helping Mothers, Informing the Professions and Changing Policy.

Those speaking include Professor Lesley Page CBE the President of the Royal College of Midwives who will be speaking on ‘Awareness in Midwifery’ as well as Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard the Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners on ‘Awareness in Primary Care’.

Mothers will also tell their stories and delegates will learn not only about the emotional price paid by women who have suffered these types of injury but also the economic consequences and employment issues they face.

The legal position of consent, compensating avoidable injury and treatment failures for women will also be discussed by leading lawyers dealing on these issues.

Professor Michael Keighley, the president of the MASIC Foundation, said:

“We hope that The MASIC Foundation will, over time, make a real difference to mothers having a baby.  We will promote primary prevention through a change in midwifery practice, better detection and successful repair of injuries and a care pathway that supports mothers whose injuries were missed or where a repair broke down, so that they receive the best available advice and treatment”.



MASIC: David Standard
07540 332717

[1] Brown S, Gartland D, Perlen S, et al. Consultation about urinary and faecal incontinence in the year after childbirth: a cohort study. Br J Obstet Gynae. 2014. doi:10.1111/147-0528.12963.