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What are the risks of a forceps delivery?

Birth InjuryNews   December 21, 2016

A forceps delivery has its own risks to consider before a woman consents. To avoid ending up in a situation where the risks haven’t been discussed before labor, a doctor should talk about these risks well in advance. If you don’t know about this kind of delivery and forceps are used, you could be in a position to claim negligence or malpractice, since you did not know enough about the procedure to consent or understand the risks.

What kinds of risks do forceps deliveries pose?

There are several risks to consider including pain in the perineum, the tissue found between the anus and vagina, which will likely occur after delivery, difficulty emptying your bladder or urinating, anemia from blood loss during delivery or uterine rupture, which can be potentially life-threatening to mother and child.

You could also experience the weakening of the ligaments and muscles and the pelvic organs, which could drop into the pelvis resulting in a pelvic organ prolapse in some cases. Lower genital tract wounds and tears may also be a complication, as can short or long-term fecal or urinary incontinence.

Don’t these risks exist with a vaginal delivery as well?

Most of these risks are also risks of vaginal deliveries, but they become much more likely if forceps have to be used. With a forceps delivery, the baby can also face some injuries or complications due to this kind of assistance, including seizures, bleeding in the skull, eye trauma, facial palsy, facial injuries due to pressure or skull fractures. If your doctor believes forceps need to be used, it’s important to weigh your options before proceeding.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Forceps delivery,” accessed Dec. 08, 2016