During a forceps delivery, the attending medical staff will use a type of metal tool meant to guide the baby out during a challenging birth. There are several different kinds of forceps used to assist during various complications. As such, these instruments may either look like a set of tongs, a spoon, or a similar tool. The following list provides a general outline of what happens in a forceps delivery:
- An anesthetic is applied to the birthing region, assuming that an epidural has not already been administered to assist with the mother’s pain
- A cut known as an episiotomy may be utilized to make a larger opening for the baby to pass through, to better facilitate the birthing process
- Alongside the typical contractions and pushing that accompanies most births, the medical staff will use forceps to extract the child once the region is sufficiently primed. These devices are meant to grip the child’s head so the doctor can guide them out
It is worth noting that, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), only 3 percent of vaginal births require assistance from either forceps or vacuum tools.
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Circumstances That May Call for a Forceps Delivery
Forceps deliveries most commonly occur when a pre-existing health condition heightens the risk of a non-assisted birth. This includes health concerns like the mother suffering from high blood pressure, which could get worse under the stress and strain of natural birth.
Other complications that may call for a forceps delivery can include when the baby is in an unusual position in the womb or birth canal or shows signs of high blood pressure levels. In the event of a premature birth, doctors may opt to use forceps to help shield the child’s head from damage when pushed against the perineum.
If the doctors begin to worry that the child is becoming fatigued, the use of forceps can help to keep the birthing process going. The longer a baby spends in the birth canal, the higher the chances are for other types of birth injuries to develop.
Likewise, if the baby is too large to be pushed out naturally—thereby causing a prolonged and difficult birth—the doctors may use forceps in an attempt to help the baby along, potentially leading to injury.
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Complications That Can Arise From Forceps Deliveries
The injuries a newborn may experience from a forceps delivery can include skull fractures, eye injuries, and nerve damage. These nerve injuries can lead to partial paralysis in the child’s face, as well as brain injury conditions that may cause seizures.
Nerve injuries that occur during birth can also cause more dangerous conditions like cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy, which may lead to irreversible physical damage and cognitive delays. Studies show that trauma to the child’s head, as well as a lack of oxygen to his or her brain, can lead to cerebral palsy. In cases of Erb’s palsy, nerve damage to the child’s brachial plexus can cause partial or full paralysis in their upper extremities.
There are also various complications that can cause harm to the mother during these procedures. For example, a mother may experience:
- Injuries to the perineum, urinary tract, pelvic organs, and bladder.
- A rip in the uterine wall, which may force the child into her abdominal cavity.
- Complications that may result in irregularities with bowel movements and urination.
Forceps Delivery Injury Lawyers Fighting to Protect Victims’ Rights
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we work with parents whose children have suffered injuries due to medical malpractice. Unfortunately, that means we know all too well what happens in a forceps delivery when not performed with care.
When the medical staff displays negligence, incompetence, or ignorance during instances of forceps delivery, it can permanently change the life of both the mother and the newborn child. As such, our attorneys believe these acts of negligence deserve legal action. This gives victims the chance to recover damages from what they have lost throughout this traumatic event.
To learn more about how our attorneys can help in a birth injury case, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. We can schedule your free consultation and case review when you call (800) 222-9529.