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Forceps deliveries put Massachusetts mothers, infants at risk

On Behalf of | May 8, 2015 | Pregnancy-Related Injuries

While most expecting mothers in Massachusetts anticipate smooth deliveries, that does not always happen. Situations may arise during the birthing process, which necessitate medical intervention. Sometimes when childbirths are not progressing, health care professionals use tools, such as forceps, to aid in the delivery. Although the use of these devices can assist with difficult childbirths, they can also pose risks to both mothers and their babies.

There are a number of situations, which may warrant the use of forceps. According to WebMD, they are commonly used to guide the baby out of the birth canal in cases when the mother or the unborn child is in distress. This device, which looks to be a long pair of tongs or spoons, may also be used when the baby is not moving through the birth canal, or is not facing the right way. Health care professionals may opt for a forceps delivery if the mother is not able to push due to certain medical problems. Additionally, they may be used if a mother is too fatigued to continue pushing on her own.

In general, many of the risks that expecting mothers face as a result of forceps deliveries are also associated with vaginal deliveries. However, the potential for a pregnancy-related injury can be more likely with the use of forceps, according to the Mayo Clinic. These risks include the following:

  •        Uterine rupture
  •        Anemia
  •        Tears or wounds in the lower genital tract
  •        Fecal or urinary incontinence
  •        Pelvic organ prolapse

Furthermore, women may suffer injuries to their urethras or bladders as the result of forceps deliveries. These issues could have short-term, or long-term, implications for mothers.

The use of forceps during delivery does not just pose a risk to expecting mothers. Infants may also suffer injuries due to their use. Often, babies may sustain minor facial injuries during forceps deliveries, or experience facial palsy. They may also suffer skull fractures, seizures or minor external eye trauma, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Even at the best medical facilities, there are inherent risks during childbirth. When mothers, or their babies, suffer injuries as the result of doctors’ negligence or errors, however, those health care professionals could be held liable. People who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from consulting with an attorney to discuss their rights and options.