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How can doctors misuse forceps during birth?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Birth Injuries

Medical professionals often use forceps during childbirth to assist them in the delivery process when complications arise. However, concerns have arisen over the misuse of forceps, potentially leading to adverse outcomes for both mother and baby.

Diving into the reasons behind the misuse of forceps during childbirth can help someone understand the potential consequences associated with this practice.

Improper timing

One of the primary issues surrounding the misuse of forceps is their improper application. Physicians may employ forceps too early in labor, before the cervix is fully dilated or when the baby is not yet in the optimal position.

This can result in unnecessary complications, including maternal tears and fetal distress. Healthcare professionals need to make informed decisions about when and how to use forceps during childbirth.

Lack of training and experience

Another contributing factor to the misuse of forceps is the lack of adequate training and experience among some medical practitioners. Skillfully using forceps requires a thorough understanding of the baby’s position, the mother’s anatomy and the proper technique. Insufficient training can lead to misalignment of the forceps, increasing the risk of injury to both mother and baby.

Inadequate monitoring

Effective monitoring of both the mother and the baby is important during childbirth. Unfortunately, in some cases, healthcare providers may not closely monitor the progress of labor and the baby’s well-being. This can lead to the improper use of forceps as a hasty solution, rather than a carefully considered intervention.

Pressure to speed up delivery

In the fast-paced environment of a maternity ward, there may be pressure to accelerate the delivery process. This pressure can lead to the premature use of forceps to speed up labor, even when it may not be medically necessary. Such haste can result in unnecessary complications.

Potential consequences

The misuse of forceps during childbirth can have severe consequences. For the mother, it may lead to vaginal tears, urinary incontinence and long-term pelvic floor issues. Babies born with forceps-assisted deliveries may suffer from cranial trauma or facial nerve injuries, the latter of which happens in 10 out of every 1,000 live births.

Struggling with a birth injury can leave both a mother and baby feeling stressed and in pain. Maternal and neonatal health should always be the foremost concern during childbirth, and the responsible use of forceps is an integral part of achieving that goal.

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