These are classified into 4 degrees:
- 1st-degree tears are where the fourchette and vaginal mucosa are damaged and the underlying muscles are exposed, but not torn.
- 2nd-degree tears are to the posterior vaginal walls and perennial muscles, but the anal sphincter is intact.
- 3rd-degree tears extend to the anal sphincter that is torn, but the rectal mucosa is intact.
- 4th-degree tears are where the anal canal is opened, and the tear may spread to the rectum.