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Will the use of forceps during delivery cause harm to your baby?

As an expectant parent, you may have certain dreams and expectations for how you think the delivery of your baby will be. No parent wants to think about the possibility that something could go wrong during the delivery process, but the use of certain interventions could increase the chance of something like this happening. One of the most commonly used interventions during complicated deliveries is forceps.

Doctors may employ the use of forceps to help them pull a baby from the birth canal. While it can facilitate the birthing process, it can also cause harm to the baby in some situations. If your child suffered an injury during birth and you suspect it is because of the use of forceps or another type of intervention, you could have legal options available to you. Your family does not have to navigate the aftermath of this situation alone.

What do forceps do?

Forceps are instruments shaped like two connecting spoons, used to help pull the baby through the birth canal during vaginal delivery. The doctor may use forceps simultaneously during a contraction so that the force of the push and the forceps together may move the baby out faster. Like any type of intervention during birth, the implementation of forceps should only happen if it appears the mother or baby are in distress, making a faster delivery necessary. Potential risks for the baby include:

  • Suffering damage to the face
  • Trauma to the eyes or around the eyes
  • Experiencing weakness in the facial muscles, called facial palsy
  • Suffering a fracture to the skull
  • Experiencing seizures due to trauma caused by forceps

In some cases, the use of forceps causes more harm to the baby than if the doctor implemented another type of intervention or allowed the birth to progress naturally. If your baby suffered because of these risk factors or other decisions made by the doctor, he or she could need additional care, long-term support and more.

What can your family do?

If your child suffered birth injuries, your family may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. You may benefit from an explanation of the legal options available to you and how you could pursue legal recourse on behalf of your child. The Oregon civil justice system provides your family a way to secure the compensation you need to properly care for your child now and in the future.