It is common for birth-assisting tools such as forceps to be used during a difficult delivery. While forceps can be beneficial when used properly they still pose a risk for causing injuries during delivery or a need for a C-section.
What Are Forceps?
Forceps are a birth-assisting tool that resemble a large pair of tongs. The open end is placed around the infant’s head to help guide the baby out during the mother’s contractions. There are known and acknowledged risks of using forceps. However, if complications arise during delivery doctors may use forceps for extra assistance.
When Are They Used?
The most common reason forceps are used is when the mother is unable to push the baby out by herself during the delivery. There are a variety of reasons this could happen such as: hemorrhage, maternal exhaustion, illness or infection, a prolonged second stage of delivery, or when drugs keep the mother from being able to push the baby out successfully. Fetal factors that could cause the use of forceps are trouble reading the fetal heart or a breech delivery.
Often times these factors are time sensitive and allow the doctors to justify the use of forceps as an emergency dictates. In most cases, they will not be used unless there is a way to perform an emergency C-section in the case that the forceps are unsuccessful.
What Are the Risks of a Forceps Delivery?
When forceps are used there are risks for both the mother and baby.
Risks for the mother include:
- Perineum pain
- Bladder injuries
- Tears and lacerations in the lower genital tract area
- Urethra injuries
Risks for the baby include:
- Bruising and swelling of the head
- Skull fractures
- Facial palsy and facial injuries
- Brain damage
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common injuries caused by forceps are laceration or bruising. In some cases they can cause injuries such as nerve damage, skull fractures, a misshapen head, and hemorrhages.
If forceps are used during the delivery of your child you should be sure to have the baby checked out after the birth. The symptoms and injuries from the use of forceps can lead to serious health problems such as: seizure disorders, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and cerebral palsy.
You have a choice.
A doctor should not only inform you of the risks associated with using forceps, but should also give you a choice. Doctors have a responsibility to make sure that the mother and baby are as safe as possible during the delivery.
If your child suffered an injury during delivery due to the use of forceps your doctor may be at fault. The attorneys at Powers Taylor have experience with all types of medical malpractice cases. We pride ourselves on putting our clients first and fighting to get them the justice they deserve. Call Powers Taylor today for a free consultation. All calls are confidential.