What is a Forceps Delivery?

A forceps delivery is a medical procedure in which a health care professional utilizes forceps, a tool shaped like salad tongs, to guide a baby out of the birth canal during labor. Medical providers generally apply the forceps to the baby’s head. A woman must meet several criteria in order to have a forceps delivery. First, her cervix must be fully dilated. Second, her membranes must have ruptured, and third, the baby’s head must be head down in the birth canal. A forceps delivery may be performed is labor isn’t progressing at a normal pace, or if a medical emergency requires that the baby be delivered immediately. A forceps delivery should only be performed if the hospital can also perform a cesarean section (C-section).

A forceps delivery may be required if a mother is pushing but her baby isn’t coming out or the labor has not progressed for two to three hours. The procedure might also be performed if the baby has an abnormal heartbeat and needs to be delivered immediately. In some cases, health care providers may want to limit the amount of times a mother has to push if she has certain medical issues. Finally, a forceps delivery may be performed if a baby’s head is facing in the wrong direction.

There are, however, cases in which a forceps delivery should not be performed. For instance, forceps should not be used on a baby known to have feeble bones or a bleeding disorder. Forceps also should not be used if the position of the baby’s head is unknown or if the baby’s head has not moved past the midpoint of the birth canal. A baby that might not be able to fit through its mother’s pelvis also should not be delivered by forceps.

What are the Risks of a Forceps Delivery?

A forceps delivery poses a risk for both the mother and her baby. After a forceps birth, a mother may experience long and short-term problems with bowel movements and urinating. As a result of losing blood during delivery, a mother may have anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body. Moreover, a forceps delivery can result in a uterine rupture, an injury in which the baby breaks through the uterus into the abdominal cavity. Finally, a mother’s pelvic organs may slip out of place due to weakened muscles and ligaments around the pelvis.

Forceps delivery also poses a risk to babies. For example, the use of forceps may cause injuries to a baby’s face, including temporary weakness of the facial muscles. Infants may also suffer from a fractured skull and bleeding within the skull. Forceps delivery may also cause a child to have seizures.

How Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC Can Help If Your Child Suffered an Injury Due to a Forceps Delivery

A forceps delivery can cause injuries to your baby’s head, including brain damage. If your child has been injured due to a forceps delivery, Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC may be able to help. We will investigate your child’s injury and determine if medical malpractice or negligence during a forceps delivery caused your baby’s condition. We will recover compensation from the party or parties responsible for your child’s injury.  Call now for a free consultation.

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