Forceps delivery can result in less injuries than a c-section if done correctly, but can result in birth injury to the baby and mother if not careful. Improper use of forceps during birth may cause forceps delivery scars to form around the perineum and pelvis.
If you sustained birth injuries caused by an improper forceps delivery, do not hesitate to find legal representation so you can be compensated for your and your baby’s injuries. Find a local birth injury attorney with LegalASAP as we partner with 500+ law firms around the US to make sure you receive compensation for your damages.
When to Use Forceps During a Delivery
The ideal way to give birth would be to push the baby through the birth canal with well-coordinated contractions. If contractions alone fail to make meaningful progress in passing the baby’s head through the birth canal, doctors may utilize assisted delivery options, like forceps.
With assistance from contractions, forceps gently grab the baby’s head to reposition for delivery. The baby needs to be at least halfway through the birth canal in order for the forceps to reach. The doctor then gently pulls to help the baby pass through.
Doctors might use forceps if the baby’s heart rate rises due to fetal distress and a delivery needs to be achieved as soon as possible.
Most doctors have abandoned the use of forceps over time due to the amount of precision needed to prevent forceps delivery scars. Litigation concerns will also prevent doctors from using riskier assisted delivery methods compared to vacuum extraction or c-sections.
Doctors require informed consent before undergoing forceps delivery, explaining the pros and cons to the procedure before giving the mother pain relievers. Make sure the doctor asks for consent before forceps delivery. Without express consent, the law may consider it to be medical malpractice.
Common Injuries After Forceps Delivery
Forceps delivery scars can often cause increased perineum pain due to the forceps blades moving the baby’s head during vaginal delivery. Movement around the birth canal will cause complications like:
- Uterine pain or rupture
- Genital tract tears and scarring
- Urinary problems or short-term incontinence
- Urethra and bladder damage
If the forceps delivery was sound, birth injuries like scarring will be as minimal as possible.
Potential Injury to the Baby
The baby’s skull and skin tissue are soft enough to be malleable during the birthing process. If forceps are gripping with too much pressure, the baby may experience birth injuries inside and around their head. Traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy are examples of internal damage that may occur during a forceps delivery.
Other examples of potential birth injuries include:
- Skull fractures
- Facial injuries
- External eye trauma
- Internal bleeding inside the skull
- Facial palsy
Infant shoulder dystocia is a common injury caused by a botched forceps delivery. It occurs when the infant’s shoulders become stuck inside the mother’s pelvic area. This is an emergency injury where the doctor needs to deliver the baby as soon as possible to avoid further serious injury.
Nerve damage is one of the most common injuries associated with forceps delivery. Forceps delivery injuries can heal over time, according to reports. However, serious injuries may last throughout the baby’s life. If you find yourself in that scenario, a birth injury attorney is important to secure the compensation required to pay for lifelong care.
When to Avoid Forceps Delivery
Avoid forceps delivery if you feel the doctor is untrained and opt instead for a c-section or vacuum extraction to deliver your baby. Forceps are dangerous under untrained hands. In fact, many countries already opted out of forceps delivery in favor of other assisted delivery methods, mainly c-sections, due to untrained staff.
Forceps delivery is only possible once the baby progresses enough through the birth canal for the instruments to reach their head. When that scenario occurs, the doctor will most likely order a c-section to deliver your baby.
Recovering From a Forceps Delivery Scar
Make sure to not stay upright when recovering from a forceps delivery scar due to perineum damage and stitches in your pelvic area. You may have to stay in the hospital for a longer period due to your stitches, but they will dissolve in about a month. Wear a pad to minimize vaginal bleeding, and use a cold compress to ease swelling.
You may experience cramps as your uterus shrinks to normal size. Consult with your doctor about specific pain medications you can take during this time. Most take over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen to ease the pain.
Find Legal Representation Through a Birth Injury Attorney
If you need legal representation due to a birth injury caused by an incomplete forceps delivery, LegalASAP can help. We have a network of 500+ law firms across the United States ready to assist you in your birth injury claim.
Complete our free evaluation below or call 888-927-3080 to see if you may qualify for compensation:
Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.