Forceps are a medical tool. They’re essentially a large pair of tweezers or pincers that the medical provider may use to encircle a baby’s head while assisting in the delivery of the child.
While using this tool could be important and necessary in some circumstances, it’s also important to note that there are some very real dangers to using them. Pulling too hard or squeezing down too much could lead to birth injuries for the infant. The mother could be injured if the forceps are used incorrectly as well.
Forceps: An assistive tool in vaginal deliveries
Forceps are often used in vaginal deliveries when labor is not progressing or when the need for an immediate delivery is imminent. For example, if the baby’s safety depends on a quick delivery, forceps may be used to assist during contractions while the mother pushes.
To use forceps, the medical provider should use their fingers to locate the baby’s head and make sure it’s far enough out of the birth canal for this type of delivery. Then, using the location of the child, they may place the forceps around the head and lock them into place. It’s not until the next contraction that the forceps will be used to gently move the child forward in the birth canal. This tool may also be used to turn a baby downward, so that they’re easier to deliver.
Forceps create some risks for mothers and their babies
There are some risks to a forceps delivery that could lead to birth injuries. For example, this kind of delivery could lead mothers to suffer from lower genital tract tears, long-term or short-term fecal or urinary incontinence, uterine rupture, injuries to the bladder and many other issues. Infants could suffer from eye trauma, bleeding in the skull, seizures, facial palsy and other issues.
Other options should be discussed when there is time, such as the potential for a C-section or vacuum extraction.
If a baby or mother is injured during delivery because the forceps were used improperly, then there could be a chance for a medical malpractice lawsuit as a result. This is something to keep in mind if forceps were used during your labor and delivery.