Using forceps during the delivery process can result in a wide range of birth injuries to both the mother and the newborn child. These side effects can include injuries to the mother’s bladder, urethra, pelvic organs, and the genital tract. Further side effects in the mother may include:
- Newfound difficulty with urination or bowel movements, including not being able to control one’s bodily functions.
- Wounds to the perineum.
- A tearing of the uterine wall, possibly forcing the fetus into the mother’s abdominal cavity.
As for the newborn, the use of forceps can result in numerous side effects with varying degrees of seriousness, including, but not limited to:
- Injuries to the eyes.
- Fractures to the skull, possibly resulting in bleeding.
- Facial injuries, including partial paralysis.
The onset of palsy conditions in the newborn—including Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy—is a more serious risk associated with the use of forceps. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy occurs in between 1.5 to 4 births and children out of every 1,000. It can occur due to trauma, including head injuries and a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth—both of which can result from the use of forceps.
Considering the serious complications from forceps use during birth, when a mother has to ask herself “What are the side effects of a forceps delivery?” she may already be dealing with the fallout from this dangerous practice, whether she knows it or not.
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Reasons for Forceps Use
Forceps do not always result in injuries during birth, as there are many instances where a medical team may be warranted in their use of these tools. Research details that forceps are most commonly used after prolonged periods of labor where no progress is being made. Various health issues may call for the use of forceps, such as issues with blood pressure, which would otherwise become exacerbated during an extended natural birth.
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Issues with Use of Forceps During Delivery
Forceps become dangerous when they are used recklessly or negligently. This includes instances where they are utilized on a needless basis by the attending medical staff. Even when physicians act with the mother’s best interests in mind, there is always the risk that they will cause irreparable damage with the forceps.
In many cases of birth injuries caused by forceps, the staff uses them too roughly on the newborn’s upper body. This could potentially result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI), nerve damage, and other serious side effects. Other examples of dangerous birthing practices involving forceps may include:
- Failing to realize that the child is too large for a traditional birth, therefore forceps will only cause more harm.
- Failing to perform a proper caesarian section (C-section), and futilely using the forceps in an attempt to extract the baby from the mother.
- Using the forceps without properly clearing the umbilical cord, potentially causing it to wrap around the child’s neck.
- Not paying enough attention to the size and angle of the mother’s pelvic region when using forceps, wounding her in the process.
In many cases, this negligent behavior ultimately constitutes medical malpractice. If a mother or child becomes injured in this way after medical staff use forceps, they may qualify to take legal action against the responsible parties in an attempt to recover damages.
Prevalence of Forceps Injuries
According to additional data gathered by the CDC, the total number of 2018 births in the United States included 2,581,992 vaginal deliveries and 1,208,176 cesarean deliveries. This comes out to about 31.9% of births being vaginal deliveries.
Any number of these births could have involved the use of forceps, depending on the discretion of the medical staff. If their judgment is wrong, the unwitting mother and child can be permanently injured. Fortunately, the field of personal injury law seeks to protect the rights of these victims.
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Lawyers Defending Victims of Negligent Birth Injuries
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we never want a mother to have to ask “What are the side effects of a forceps delivery?” Yet, when victims have already experienced this negligent treatment and they must face their injuries, we can be there to represent their cases and fight for the compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in this way, our firm can stand up to the reckless parties who put your lives at risk. We can fight to show the court why you deserve to receive damages for your pain and suffering.
To get started with your free case review and consultation, a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group will be standing by at (800) 222-9529.