Posted on 05/10/2022

What Moms Should Know About Forceps Delivery Injuries

What Moms Should Know About Forceps Delivery Injuries

Forceps are delivery tools which assists physicians and moms during labor. They’re commonly used and are extremely effective when used properly.

However, that’s not always the case, and unfortunately forceps delivery injuries happen often as a result of the medical error. 

If you had a forceps assisted delivery and you or your baby suffered a birth injury during labor, then you should file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

I’m going to explain what forceps are, the use of forceps, when they should be avoided, risks and finally how these forceps delivery injuries are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

At the end I’ll share how you can meet with an experienced birth injury lawyer at no-cost to you.

What is a forceps delivery?

Forceps are a type of medical instrument and are commonly used during a vaginal delivery to help retrieve the baby out of the womb. 

Forceps look a lot like salad tongs or a pair of spoons that attach at the end.

They work by attaching to the baby’s head to guide the physician as they gently pull the baby out of the birth canal. 

The forceps are used only during contractions, while a mother is pushing the baby. 

They lock on to the baby’s head so that the physician can rotate or pull during contractions. 

If the baby is making progress through the birth canal, the physician may unlock the forceps as the mother continues to push. 

The physician may also keep the forceps attached to the baby until they are fully out of the birth canal.

Types of forceps

There are four types of forceps that physicians may use. The type of forceps depends on the position and location of the baby in the birth canal.

When the baby’s head is present, the two most common types of forceps used are the Simpson forceps and Elliott or Tucker-McLane forceps. 

The simpson type is used on longer, more molded heads. The Tucker-McLane or Elliott forceps are used in easier deliveries or for the narrower head.

In special circumstances, like when the baby may be positioned in a more challenging way, there are two other types of forceps which would be used: Kielland forceps and Piper forceps.

Kielland forceps are used in situations that would require rotation of the baby. Piper forceps are used for stabilization, like in a breech delivery when the baby’s head comes out last.

Hospitals must carry all types of forceps during delivery to be prepared for any situation that may arise. 

Do forceps deliveries ever work?

Forceps deliveries can be successful when the tools are used properly. 

There are a few reasons why a physician may recommend the use of forceps.

Prolonged labor

This occurs when the mother is pushing, but labor does not progress. 

Natal heartbeat

If there is a change in your newborns heartbeat during labor, such as it being too high, too low, or erratic, then a forceps delivery can help alleviate the fetal distress.

Specefic maternal health conditions

Specefic medical conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart disease can cause serious issues for a mother and baby if there are any signs of distress. A physician may recommend a forcep delivery to avoid any potential risks. 

Your physician should advise you beforehand about the risks involved for you and your baby so you can make the best decision. 

When should forceps delivery be avoided?

Forceps are not always the best way to go about an assisted vaginal delivery.

If a baby has any health condition, this would cause further damages from forceps if they were used incorrectly. 

If the newborns head hasn’t moved past the midpoint of the birth canal, then forceps would not be effective. On that same note, if the physician is unable to determine the location of the baby’s head, then forceps could easily become dangerous. 

If the mother’s birth canal is too small, or if the baby is too large to fit through the birth canal, then forceps would not be an effective means to assist with delivery.                                                            

A physician should also consider the gestational weight, the overall location of the baby in the birth canal, and any prior deliveries, such as a history of difficult labor or cesarean delivery.

The risks associated with forceps deliveries

Forceps must be placed and attach correctly to the babies head, and physicians must also be careful when applying pressure. Any medical error within the procedure can cause forceps delivery injuries.

The most common birth injuries associated with forceps for newborns include:

  • Bumps and bruising
  • Caput succadaneum
  • Nerve damage
  • Lesions, or cuts
  • Intracranial hemorrhaging
  • Eye injuries
  • Seizures

And the  most common birth injuries associated with forceps for mothers include:

  • Severe tears to the perineum 
  • Difficulty urinating 
  • Uterine rupture 
  • Problems with the urinary tract or digestive system
  • Damges and injuries to the pelvic area

Forceps delivery & medical negligence claims

Most forceps delivery injuries are due to medical errors and mistakes. 

The malpractice of these tools, or negligence in using the tools, can leave grave injuries to patients that can have a lifelong affect.

Families who have filed medical malpractice lawsuits for forcep delivery injuries have received compensation for the injustice that was done.

Compensation is the most effective way to pay for a traumatic birth injuries medical treatment. 

When you meet with a lawyer, they’ll  review the factual basis of your claim and any damages you’ve incurred. 

They’ll also advise whether settlement or trial would be best for your suit and if they have the resources to win your legal pursuit.

If you or your newborn is suffering from a birth injury which occured from a forceps deliver, request a free case evaluation with the malpractice team at Grover Lewis Johnson.

They understand the physical, emotional and financial pain you are suffering, which is why they will fearlessly fight for you every step of the way.

They also won’t charge any legal fees until they’ve won your case—and if they don’t win for you, they still don’t expect any payment.

Let us fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Fill out our intake form today.