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Birth injury: Risks and hazards associated with forceps delivery

As an expectant parent, you may field questions from friends, family members and even strangers about whether you are hoping for a boy or a girl. You may report that you have no preference other than having a happy, healthy baby. Unfortunately, for some parents, the birthing process fails to be a smooth one.

In certain circumstances, like if your labor is not progressing as it should or if you have certain health conditions that may endanger you or your baby during delivery, your doctor may decide to perform a forceps delivery. This type of delivery involves your doctor extracting the baby using forceps, which look similar to salad tongs, while you push. Though certain situations may warrant a forceps delivery, there are also certain risks involved that can potentially endanger you as well as your child.

Forceps delivery risks for the mother

Following your forceps delivery, you may experience some symptoms that are relatively minor in nature, while others can be far more severe. You may, for example, notice that you have trouble relieving yourself when you have to urinate, or you may feel pain in your perineum following your baby's birth. During a forceps delivery, you also run the risk of injuring your bladder or urethra, and you may also experience uterine rupture or a weakening of the muscles that support your pelvic organs.

Forceps delivery risks for the baby

Your baby, too, is potentially at risk during a forceps delivery. He or she may suffer eye trauma or small facial injuries during the birthing process, or in more serious cases, he or she may experience seizures, a skull fracture or bleeding within his or her skull.

Options and rights if negligence occurs

Typically, your physician will try other methods before performing a forceps delivery. The doctor may decide to perform a cesarean section as an alternative if labor is not progressing as anticipated.

If a medical practitioner fails to uphold certain standards of care, you and/or your baby could be injured. Victims of medical negligence have the right to assert legal claims against those responsible for the harm.

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