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What is a forceps delivery?

A forceps delivery is a form of physician-assisted delivery that occurs for a number of reasons, including when a mother cannot push the baby out on her own or when there is a suspected health problem in the baby or mother. In most cases, the physician wants the delivery to happen faster. If a forceps delivery is not possible, the doctor will typically order a C-section.

There are several risks involved with a forceps delivery, however, both to the mother and child. If a doctor or nurse fails to account for those risks, serious injuries or death can occur. It is important to understand the possible risks.

Risks To The Mother

Along with painful urination, incontinence and pain in the perineum, some of the more serious risks that mothers can face from a forceps delivery include:

  • Uterine rupture, which could cause the baby or placenta to slip into the mother's body cavity
  • Pelvic organ prolapse, which can cause shifting of the organs in the mother's pelvis
  • Bladder or urethra injuries
  • Anemia, which can be caused by blood loss during the delivery

Risks To The Child

During the delivery, the doctor will insert a large pair of forceps into the birth canal and place them around the baby's head to gently guide it out. While some injuries to the baby will be relatively minor, such as bruising from the forceps, the child could also suffer from seizures, a fractured skull, paralysis of the facial muscles and bleeding in the brain. A brain injury during childbirth could leave your child facing many different types of medical complications later in life.

A Doctor Must Consider All Of The Risks

While no doctor sets out to turn the delivery process into a nightmare, mistakes do happen. The doctor should look for warning signs that may caution against a forceps delivery. These include:

  • The positioning of the baby
  • The width of the mother's pelvis
  • The strength of the baby's bones
  • If the baby has a condition like hemophilia that could be aggravated

Do not forget that if a mistake happens during your child's birth, that you and your family have options. A severe birth or maternal injury could mean thousands of dollars in lost wages and medical bills for additional treatments and surgeries. Talking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney will shed light on how to best pursue the compensation you deserve.

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