Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Real Advice -

Q My baby was de­liv­ered by for­ceps and suf­fered some bruis­ing. Could they cause my baby any long-term dam­age?

A Dr Mike Starr, pae­di­a­tri­cian, says: For­ceps are only used to help de­liver ba­bies in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, there are times when a baby’s head won’t come out eas­ily, and us­ing for­ceps may be the only way to suc­cess­fully de­liver the baby (ex­cept per­haps for vac­uum ex­trac­tion or cae­sarean sec­tion). The for­ceps cra­dle the baby’s head as the han­dles are pulled, and the head and shoul­ders are de­liv­ered.

There are pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tions for mother and baby as­so­ci­ated with us­ing for­ceps for de­liv­er­ies. In the mother, the main prob­lems are pos­si­ble trauma to the per­ineum and vag­ina. Ba­bies often have bruis­ing and swelling of the head and face, which can last sev­eral days. Rarely, the nerves in the face may be squashed, so that there can be weak­ness of the mus­cles of the face for a while. How­ever, these prob­lems can hap­pen dur­ing a nor­mal de­liv­ery as well, par­tic­u­larly if the head or shoul­ders get stuck. There is no ev­i­dence that for­ceps cause long-term dam­age to ba­bies.

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