Forceps Delivery and Birth Injury

Ideally, every baby would be born without complications. But for millennia women have experienced complications during birth, causing their attending medical physicians and helpers to take extraordinary steps to help them deliver their babies. In some cases modern physicians will employ the use of medical devices and tools, such as forceps, in order to help deliver children.

Forceps are a set of pincers which are used to help deliver a baby. The instrument is placed on the baby’s head, encircling it, to assist the medical personnel in guiding the baby out of the birth canal. When used skillfully, forceps use can help to ensure that a woman successfully gives birth. But, when used unskillfully or in the wrong situation, forceps can cause significant injury to both mothers giving birth and babies in the process of being born.

Why Are Forceps Used?

Medical professionals may order the use of forceps under specific labor related circumstances, including:

  • Your pushing is not resulting in the baby’s exiting the birth canal.
  • Your baby is showing signs of fetal distress, which is marked by an irregular heartbeat.
  • Your baby is positioned incorrectly in the birth canal.
  • You are showing signs of health issues which necessitate delivering the baby more quickly.

When Are Forceps Used?

According to the Mayo Clinic, forceps may be used when your labor meets the following criteria:

  • Your cervix has fully dilated
  • Your membranes have ruptured
  • Your baby has descended into the birth canal head first
  • You have not been able to push the baby out

Forceps should only be used in situations in which a cesarean can be performed if needed.

Why Would Medical Professionals Choose Not to Use Forceps?

Though forceps can be useful in assisting delivery after a prolonged labor, doctors may choose not to use forceps in situations in which the mother’s or baby’s heath may be detrimentally affected by their use. For example, doctors may decide not to execute a forceps aided delivery if the baby suffers from hemophilia, or if the baby is too big to pass through the birth canal.

The Dangers of Forceps Aided Delivery

As forceps are medical instruments, any mistakes a doctor or medical professional may make while using them have can magnified consequences. There are many risks involved in using forceps to aid in delivery, including:

  • Damage to the mother’s vagina or genital area
  • Damage to the mother’s urethra or bladder
  • Uterine rupture
  • The baby may suffer a skull fracture
  • The forceps may cause skull injuries which, in turn, result in internal bleeding

Medical Negligence and Forceps Delivery

If you, or your baby, suffered from serious medical injuries after a forceps aided delivery, the potential negligence of your attending medical personnel may be to blame. Contact a birth injury attorney today to discuss your pregnancy and delivery, and to learn if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.