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Can a Forceps-Assisted Delivery Cause Birth Injuries?

No family goes into the delivery room expecting problems to arise with the delivery process; however, sometimes physicians need to use extra equipment to help the baby travel through the birth canal. In an earlier post, the vacuum extraction assisted vaginal deliveries were discussed. Along with vacuum extraction, forceps can also help extract the baby from the birth canal.

It is important for everyone going through a pregnancy to understand situations where physicians might use forceps to assist in the delivery process. Parents should also understand the injuries that the improper use of forceps can cause.

The Use of Forceps in a Vaginal Delivery

During the second stage of labor, the woman will begin to push the baby down the birth canal. If the baby isn't moving down the birth canal in a satisfactory fashion, the physician may use forceps to provide assistance to the delivery process. The forceps are shaped like giant tongs and the physician will apply them to the head of the baby. Using the forceps, the physician will guide the baby down the birth canal and out from the mother. The forceps are usually used during a contraction while the mother pushes.

Sometimes, Forceps are Used Incorrectly.

Forceps are hard pieces of metal equipment that can sometimes be used inappropriately. During the rush of a delivery, the forceps might be applied in an improper location. In other situations, the forceps might be used too hard. There is always the opportunity for forceps to be used in an inappropriate medical situation as well. When forceps aren't used properly, there is an opportunity for birth injuries to develop. It is vital that parents understand what types of birth injuries can develop from the misuse of forceps.

Birth Injuries from a Forceps-Assisted Delivery

Intracranial Hemorrhage: An intracranial hemorrhage is the most serious injury that can result from improper use of forceps. When the forceps are placed too hard on the soft head of a baby, blood vessels in the brain can tear. This can lead to strokes, seizures, and developmental delays. Severe intracranial hemorrhages can even lead to death.

Skull Fractures: Everyone who has held a newborn baby knows that the skull is not fused at birth. This means that the bones are fragile and easily broken. Forceps can easily cause skull fractures that can cause a host of other neurological issues in the process.

Orbital Fractures: Orbital fractures are fractures of the bones that encase the eye. Forceps aren't meant to be placed on the face of the baby; however, they can be misplaced during a rushed delivery. Forceps that are placed on the face instead of the head can lead to fractures of the orbit.

These are only a few of the many injuries that can result from an improper forceps-assisted delivery. Anyone with concerns regarding the outcome of their child after a forceps-assisted delivery should contact an attorney for more information. 

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