There are times when medical techniques, such as using forceps to assist a delivery, are necessary. There are also times when those same techniques are not advised and may become dangerous to a baby or mother.
If you haven’t heard of forceps, these are medical instruments shaped like a long tong. They are used to help a baby leave the birth canal. They are supposed to be used to gently guide the child out of the birth canal without extreme pressure.
When would forceps be a normal part of delivery?
Usually, forceps are used when there are serious complications. They might be used when:
- There is fetal distress requiring the medical team to get the child out of the birth canal quickly
- Exiting the birth canal without assistance is impossible
- The mother is too fatigued to push enough to complete labor
Forceps are only supposed to be used in specific cases and while closely monitoring the position of the child. Before forceps can be used, the medical team should see that:
- The baby’s head does fit in the birth canal and may exit it safely with support
- The amniotic sac has broken
- The uterus is fully dilated
Once these conditions are met, then forceps may be used to assist the birth.
What are the risks of using forceps
Forceps can be dangerous for the mother and child. There are a few complications that may occur including:
- Additional blood loss during delivery
- Contusions and bruises on the baby
- Facial nerve compression and minor paralysis of the infant
- A larger episiotomy scar
- Vaginal tearing
It is rare, but it’s possible for skull fractures to occur. Life-threatening complications may also occur in some cases.
What can you do if forceps were used when they shouldn’t have been?
If forceps were used and resulted in injuries to you or your child, you should look into your case more closely. If the forceps were used under the incorrect circumstances, then you may have a case to pursue. Medical malpractice is serious, and those responsible could be held liable for any injuries to you or your child.