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What are the risks to an infant during a forceps delivery?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

When some pregnant women go into labor, the birthing process does not always go as planned and complications may sometimes occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, some problems, such as stalled labor, may require a forceps delivery.

While forceps are sometimes necessary, there are significant risks connected with their use, some of which can cause permanent injury to the infant during the delivery process.

Skull fractures

The use of forceps can cause trauma to an infant’s skull because the bone of the skull is not yet completely hardened. If the baby becomes trapped in the birth canal and a doctor uses forceps to complete the delivery, this can result in a skull fracture and serious injury and/or death for the infant.

Facial trauma

Forceps can cause tissue trauma in an infant, especially in the face and scalp. While these injuries usually heal, they may leave behind significant scarring that may affect the child later in life.

Facial palsy

While not all forceps injuries cause permanent injury to an infant, the use of forceps during delivery may result in partial or complete facial palsy. When this occurs, the facial muscles become weak or partially paralyzed. This can cause serious issues for the child when eating or learning to speak later in life. Facial palsy may also interfere with an infant’s ability to latch on when nursing, which could cause nutrition problems.

Forceps use can also cause trauma to an infant’s eyes when they are not used correctly or with too much force. While the doctor performing the delivery may discuss the use of forceps beforehand, he or she cannot predict whether the aforementioned injuries may occur.