The risks associated with forceps births

April 4, 2019 | Crandall & Pera Law
The risks associated with forceps births

As an expectant mother, or the partner of one, you want to be informed on birth. What to expect, problems that could arise and how to fix them are all valuable pieces of information to hold. One complication most mothers-to-be are aware of is when something stops the baby can't make it out through the last bit of the birth canal.

There are several reasons this may happen, and one of the most common ways doctors alleviate this situation is by doing a forceps-assisted delivery. Once the mother is fully dilated, the doctor will use a large pair of tongs to help pull the baby the rest of the way out.

When does this happen?

As mentioned above, there are several scenarios that may call for a forceps-assisted delivery. As the Mayo Clinic explains, a few of the main times a doctor will intervene with forceps are when:

  • Complications necessitate that the baby come out faster than the mother can push
  • The mother has become exhausted beyond being able to push any longer
  • There is a medical risk to the mother if she continues pushing

The assistance of forceps will not come into play in the majority of births, and doctors will not use them unless it is a necessity.

What dangers do forceps pose?

While forceps-assisted births are sometimes unavoidable, if they are not done properly, they can harm the mother and the baby. Sometimes doctors will not read the situation properly or not consider every possible solution to a problem. This leads to negligence and injury.

Anyone who suffers injury due to a doctor's negligence should speak to a legal professional right away - injury due to doctor negligence can mean medical malpractice, something no one should stand for. Damages from medical malpractice can help cover the cost of additional medical bills, give peace of mind and much more.

These are a few of the conditions an improperly conducted forceps-assisted birth can cause:

  • Bruises, welts or other marks on the baby's head and face
  • A swollen or misshapen head
  • Nerve damage on the baby's face from forceps pressure
  • Cuts or tears from the edge of the forceps
  • Internal bleeding
  • For the mother, vaginal tearing requiring extended heal time or even surgery

Each situation is different and if you or your baby have suffered any unexpected injury, then a second opinion from another hospital may be the best course of action.

The road to becoming a proud parent is a learning experience. Being informed of what to expect and how to react to bumps in the road are two of the best first steps you can take to being prepared.