The percentage of birth injuries associated with the use of forceps is particularly high.
Doctors have been using birth assisting tools during difficult deliveries since the 1800s. They can be extremely helpful when used appropriately; however, the percentage of birth injuries associated with forceps is particularly high. Although statistics reveal that birth injuries caused by forceps use is a cause of concern, doctors continue to use them in spite of a clear danger of inflicting injury to the infant.
How Forceps Are Used
Forceps are a birth-assisting tool with an open end that is placed around the baby’s head to help guide the baby out during contractions. Most doctors agree that the risk of injury while using forceps is very real. However, if there are complications during labor and delivery, the use of forceps becomes important. Forceps are typically used when the mother is unable to push the infant out during delivery because of maternal exhaustion, illness, infection, prolonged second stage of delivery, or hemorrhage.
There are fetal conditions as well that can necessitate the use of forceps. This includes fetal distress and breech delivery. Both maternal and fetal factors are time emergent and a physician will use forceps as the situation demands. In most cases, forceps are used only when there is a means to perform an emergency C-section if the use of forceps fail.
Risks Associated With the Use of Forceps
The use of forceps puts both the mother and the child at risk for injury. The risks that the mother faces include:
- lacerations or tears in the lower genital tract area
- urinary or fecal incontinence
- perineum pain
- urethra injuries
- bladder injuries
Risks for the infant include:
- facial injuries and facial palsy
- skull fractures
- bruising and swelling on the head
- brain damage
Symptoms of Forceps Injury
In most cases the symptoms of forceps injury are clearly evident. The most common symptoms include bruising and lacerations. Other symptoms are nerve damage, hemorrhage, misshapen head, and skull fractures. Forceps injuries can be quite serious. It is important for the baby to be checked for a variety of head and brain injuries that pose serious health concerns, including seizure disorders, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and cerebral palsy.
Legal Options for Parents
If you or your child has been injured because of the use of forceps, discuss your case with our Chicago birth injury lawyers. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166.