Risks of Birth Injuries From Use of Forceps or Vacuum Extraction
In some cases, a doctor may decide the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor is the best way to deliver a baby. Unfortunately, the baby or mother can sustain injuries during the process known as assisted vaginal birth or operative vaginal delivery. The obstetrician may have incorrectly used the forceps or vacuum extractor, which can have devastating consequences.
According to News Medical, forceps or vacuum extractors are used in about five percent of all deliveries in the United States. Vacuum extractors in recent times have become more common than forceps.
What is a forceps or vacuum delivery and why is it necessary?
A vacuum device, known as a vacuum extractor, includes a disposable soft cup that is placed on the baby’s head with suction. Forceps, which look like tongs or spoons, are more effective but come with a higher risk of injury to the mother or baby, according to News Medical.
Before deciding on an assisted vaginal birth, the doctor may give oxytocin (a hormone) to induce labor or try other labor-inducing methods. However, if labor is difficult and not progressing during the pushing stage, the doctor may decide forceps or a vacuum extractor is necessary.
What can go wrong in a forceps or vacuum delivery?
With a vacuum delivery, the doctor may use the wrong size cup or incorrectly position the cup on the baby’s head. Similarly, the doctor may incorrectly position the forceps on the head of the baby during delivery.
The following are risks to the mother:
- Injury to the vaginal, perineal or anal tissues
- Pain in the perineum area
- Hematomas (bruising)
- Loss of blood
The following are risks to the baby:
- Cuts to the scalp
- Skull fracture
- Accumulation of blood under the scalp
- Bleeding inside the skull
- Neonatal jaundice related to bruising from use of forceps or vacuum extractor
- Facial nerve palsy
Ask questions during prenatal care
Long before you go into labor, you should ask your doctor if he or she is comfortable using forceps or a vacuum extractor. Some doctors have experience with one type of assisted vaginal birth tool, but not the other. Some doctors might lack experience with either. If there are problems during labor, your doctor may recommend a cesarean-section birth as an alternative to operative vaginal delivery.
If forceps or a vacuum extractor is used and you or your baby is injured, you may have a claim for medical negligence. However, the doctor, hospital, and insurance company may deny any negligence or downplay the injuries. They may even ask you to accept a quick, low-ball settlement and hope you’ll simply go away.
But injuries from forceps or vacuum extractors can have a lifelong impact on you or your baby. You need a strong advocate at your side to make sure your rights are fully protected. Contact an experienced birth injury attorney. At Tyrone Law Firm in Georgia, we can help you determine if a doctor’s negligence played a role in the injury and fight for your child’s needs.