Despite the fact that millions of happy and healthy babies have been delivered with the use of forceps, forceps deliveries do pose a number of serious health risks to mothers and babies alike. The Law Offices of William C. Bibb have handled many birth injury cases where the use of forceps caused serious injuries to the mother and/or newborn baby.
The Mayo Clinic discusses forceps delivery in detail. A medical provider in a birthing center or hospital should only consider conducting a forceps delivery if or when a labor meets a certain set of criteria. One reason may be that the mother's cervix is fully dilated, her membranes have ruptured and the baby has descended into the birth canal headfirst, but she is not able to push the baby out without assistance. Other reasons that a healthcare provider may recommend a forceps delivery include:
- the baby is facing up instead of down in the birth canal
- there is evidence of fetal distress
- the labor is not progressing
- there is evidence of labor distress in the mother
The factors described above are only some of the reasons why a healthcare provider may choose to conduct a forceps delivery. It must be noted, however, that a C-section delivery is typically another viable option in such cases.
There are reasons why forceps delivery is not recommended in many cases. If there is evidence to suggest that the baby will not fit through the mother's pelvis, forceps delivery is not typically advisable. Using forceps can also be dangerous in cases where the baby has a bleeding disorder and/or a condition that affects bone strength.
Serious birth injuries can result from the use of forceps. For babies, those birth injury risk factors include but are not limited to:
- skull fracture
- bleeding inside the skull
- facial injuries resulting from applied pressure
Mothers can be injured by the use of forceps during delivery as well. Forceps-related injuries to mothers can include:
- tears and/or wounds to the lower genital tract
- short or long-term fecal or urinary incontinence
- bladder or urethra injuries
- pelvic organ prolapsed
Contact the Law Offices of William C. Bibb today if you or your child suffered injuries resulting from the use of forceps in delivery.