Forceps are an alternative to vacuum-assisted delivery for removing the baby from the birth canal when complications such as size or positioning become an issue.

Forceps are a type of large tweezer with spoon-like ends that fit around the baby’s head. Unfortunately, forceps have also been known to leave scalp blisters, cuts to the mother, as well as very serious injuries to the child.

The use of forceps in childbirth is more-commonly utilized in the U.S. than other parts of the world. The advantages of forceps over vacuum extractors include fewer neonatal injuries and an increase of successful vaginal deliveries. But forceps create more discomfort for the mother, often leading to a need for anesthesia.

Some reasons why birth forceps are commonly used:

  • The baby’s head needs to be rotated for delivery;
  • The delivery needs to be especially quick;
  • Added protection is needed for a premature baby’s head when pushing becomes detrimental for the mother.

Tips to avoid forceps delivery:

  • Keep an eye on blood sugar levels, especially if you are diabetic.
  • Do not have an elective induction. Induced labor has been shown to have higher failure, instrumental, and cesarean rates in first-time mothers.
  • Take prenatal and birthing classes so you know what to expect in the birthing process.

Women need to be selective about their caregiver who will see them through the duration of their pregnancy, labor and delivery. They need to take care of themselves, follow recommended and agreed upon regimen, stay informed about any complications and how to deal with them, establish a birth plan, and have an advocate support them during labor and delivery. If your child has suffered a brain injury do to the misuse of forceps, you and your child may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

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