When the childbirth process becomes difficult, medical professionals often use medical instruments to assist the birthing process. Forceps are a standard piece of equipment used during childbirth. While they can be effective in assisting with a difficult birth, they still come with risks. In fact, when misused or in an inappropriate situation, these medical devices can cause otherwise preventable birth injuries. Let’s go over the dangers of improper use of forceps during labor.
What is Forcep Delivery?
Forceps are used during delivery to assist in complicated childbirth. Forceps are delivery tools that are shaped like large tongs and are used to assist with prolonged vaginal labor.
Doctors will use forceps if a child can not be freed from the birth canal and they are showing signs of fetal distress. The forceps are then used on the baby’s head to guide them out of the birth canal while the mother pushes during a contraction. Forceps should only be used in an emergency when other methods of delivery are not working.
Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps
Complications during forceps delivery can cause birth injuries to the child. Since the forceps are clamped onto the newborn’s head, improper use can cause brain damage and other injuries with different levels of severity. Two serious birth injuries that forceps can cause include:
Cerebral Palsy: This is one example of the type of permanent disability resulting from a forceps delivery. Too much pressure on the baby’s brain causes brain damage which is the underlying cause of cerebral palsy. This can lead to mild, moderate, or severe cerebral palsy.
Infant Shoulder Dystocia: During delivery, the baby’s shoulders can become stuck in the mother’s pelvis. In these cases, the baby’s head is usually already outside of the birth canal, and the delivery must be completed as quickly as possible before causing serious injury to the baby.
Risks to the Mother
Improper use of forceps during delivery can severely injure the mother as well as the baby. In fact, maternal injuries are even more common than injuries to the child. Some complications mothers face during a forceps delivery include:
- Uterine rupture, including life-threatening rupture
- Damage to bladder or lower urinary tract
- Internal bleeding
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Cervical, perineal, and vaginal lacerations
If you or your child were injured during labor, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to us today to learn more!
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