What is Forceps Delivery?

By Jason Brady

Baby's foot

Forceps deliveries are a form of assisted delivery for women who may experience significantly elevated difficulties or risks when giving birth conventionally.

The use of forceps is well established and considered safe in UK medical practice when conducted by qualified, competent healthcare providers.

What are forceps?

Forceps are metal instruments shaped like a pair of spoons; they have a curved surface designed to fit around a baby’s head without damaging it. Once in position, the instrument provides purchase on the baby to the operator and enables them to manoeuvre the child through the birthing process to aid a successful delivery.

A number of different designs are in use, with some designed more to assist in rotating the baby to assist in the delivery process, rather than a pulling action.

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Why might I need a forceps delivery?

There are several conditions that can contribute to the need for a delivery using forceps. These can include:

  • If you have high blood pressure; making it ill-advised for you to exert significant effort pushing out your baby.
  • If your baby is showing signs of an elevated heart rate.
  • Where your baby appears to be tiring or becoming distressed because of the birthing process.
  • If your baby is being delivered prematurely and may not have a sufficiently strong head to undergo vaginal birth safely.
  • Specialist birth injury solicitors
  • No win, no fee claims
  • Independently recognised as experts

Are there any risks associated with a forceps delivery?

There are risks associated with a forceps delivery, and as such, the procedure should only be used when deemed appropriate by a doctor.

The risks to you may include:

  • A greater chance of vaginal tears sometimes referred to as “episiotomies”.
  • Increased risks of blood clotting.
  • Incontinence – both urinary and vaginal.
  • You may also need a catheter to help drain your bladder for the 24 hours following delivery, particularly if you have had an epidural (painkiller) to numb the area around it.

The risks to your baby could potentially include:

  • Face marks left by the forceps – typically disappear within 48 hours of delivery.
  • Minor cuts to the face or to the scalp.
  • A greater risk of developing jaundice, which usually subsides after a few days.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors made a successful hospital negligence claim for the family of an elderly patient who fell out of bed.

Hospital beds in a corridor

What if something goes wrong with my forceps delivery?

As with any medical procedure, the use of forceps in an assisted delivery does present some inherent risk, which should be managed effectively by trained medical personnel.

When the people responsible for looking after you and your baby during a forceps delivery fail to deliver a professional standard of care, you are entitled to claim forceps injury compensation to address the consequences.

You can consult a Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitor for free initial guidance on how to go about this.

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