The Risk of Forceps-assisted Delivery

If you’re pregnant and you’ve been in labor for a long period of time or your labor has stalled, there is a chance that your doctor may decide to perform a forceps-assisted delivery. During the delivery, forceps may be used to coax a baby’s head through the birth canal, speeding up the birth. While forceps can be a helpful tool during a difficult delivery, they pose significant risks of injury to the baby and the mother if they are not used correctly.

What is a Forceps-assisted Delivery?

During a forceps-assisted delivery, a doctor uses a tool that resembles salad tongs to guide the baby’s head through the birth canal. The use of forceps can help speed up labor, especially if the mother or the baby is in distress. Forceps-assisted deliveries usually occur when the baby has already descended past the midpoint of the birth canal but is not progressing further. Forceps can also be used to rotate a baby’s head if they are not facing the right direction. Doctor sometimes performs forceps-assisted deliveries to avoid performing a C-section.

Risks to the Baby

If the forceps-assisted delivery is not performed with care and precision, a baby can sustain serious injuries. These injuries include:

  • Facial injuries due to the pressure of the forceps
  • Facial palsy—weakness in the facial muscles
  • External eye trauma
  • Skull fracture
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Seizures

Risks to the Mother

In addition to risks to the baby, the mother is also at risk of serious injury. While some of these injuries can happen in any vaginal birth, they are significantly more likely to occur during a forceps-assisted delivery. These injuries include:

  • Pain in the perineum after delivery
  • Tears in the lower genital tract
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder
  • Short-term or long-term incontinence resulting from a severe tear
  • Injuries to the bladder or urethra
  • Uterine rupture
  • Pelvic organ prolapse—when the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs are weakened, causing the organs to drop lower in the pelvis

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or your child has been injured during a forceps-assisted delivery, it may be the result of medical negligence. You should have an experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of medical malpractice for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.