As you learn more about what could happen as you give birth, you may wonder, “Can using forceps during delivery cause brain damage?” The use of this type of instrument can lead to brain damage for the newborn if the doctor does not apply the forceps properly.
Should you believe your doctor did not apply the forceps correctly during your baby’s birth, you have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor. You can seek compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering related to the injury to the newborn, as well as the ongoing care for any birth defects.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Using Forceps During Birth
A pair of forceps is an instrument that obstetricians use during a vaginal birth. This instrument, which looks similar to a pair of tongs, will be applied to the side of the baby’s head in an attempt to guide the baby through the birth canal of the mother.
In a difficult birth, the forceps can speed the birth process along. Should the baby remain in the birth canal too long, it can cause significant health problems for the baby, potentially including conditions like cerebral palsy.
However, if the doctor applies the forceps improperly, this also could cause damage to the brain, leading to other potential conditions. For example, improper use of forceps can lead to a brain bleed or developmental delays.
Mistakes Made with Forceps
Should the doctor use uneven force on both sides of the baby’s head with the ends of the forceps, it could cause an injury. Such injuries can include a skull fracture or a twisting of the neck, which can damage the spinal cord.
Applying too much force with the forceps is dangerous as well, potentially leading to brain bleeds or swelling in the brain. Meanwhile, applying too little force may mean the forceps do not aid in the birth at all.
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Appropriate Times to Use Forceps
Certainly, the doctors and nurses in the delivery room could encounter emergencies that require a sudden attempt to save the life of the baby or mother. Perhaps the doctor does not plan to use forceps in the birth of the baby, but an emergency arises, and the doctor must deploy this tool or risk injury or death.
Other times, the doctor should be able to anticipate potential problems before the mother goes into labor, through exams throughout the pregnancy. By having this information at hand, the doctor should be able to anticipate whether forceps may be needed to aid in the birth, or whether a Cesarean section birth would be a better choice than a vaginal birth.
Reasons a Doctor Chooses to Use Forceps
Some of the most common reasons a doctor may decide to deploy forceps during the birth include the following:
- Lengthy birth process
- Mother hemorrhages during the birth
- Baby is in the birth canal too long
- Baby’s heart rate is not normal
- Baby is being born breech, and the head needs help to pass through the birth canal
Circumstances Where a Doctor Should Not Use Forceps
Some of the situations where a doctor should never use forceps include the following:
- Baby’s gestation period is less than 34 weeks
- Baby’s head is too large for the birth canal
- Signs of disease or disorders in the baby before birth
Prevalence of Newborn Deaths and Injuries
Although not all birth injuries are a result of the improper use of forceps, doctors must seriously consider whether to apply this tool during the vaginal birth.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.58 million vaginal births occurred in the United States in 2018. This represents about 68% of all of the 3.79 million births in the United States during 2018.
Further, the CDC reports that the infant death rate in the United States is 5.79 infant deaths per 1,000 births. The most common causes of infant deaths include:
- Accidents and unintentional injuries during and after the birthing process
- Low birth weight
- Maternal complications in pregnancy
- Congenital malformations
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Let Us Work on Your Behalf
Once you understand that using forceps during delivery can cause brain damage, you may wonder if that played a role in your baby’s birth injuries. If the doctor used this tool and did not apply it properly, it can have lasting effects.
The team at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group understands the level of stress you may be feeling after you receive news that your baby has suffered brain damage. Even though you may want to focus on your family and your baby after this diagnosis, you may also want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who made the error.
By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to help prevent other babies from suffering the same injury. We can go to work on your case for your family, studying the facts to hold those who caused your baby’s injury accountable for their actions. Contact us for a free case review at (800) 222-9529 today.