While many women in Illinois give birth without complication, sometimes labor does not progress properly despite your attempts at pushing. Prolonged labor can increase health risks to the baby. Therefore, your doctor may recommend a method of assisted vaginal delivery.
According to the Mayo Clinic, forceps delivery is a fairly common method, along with vacuum-assisted delivery. There are many types and sizes of forceps used in medical procedures. The type used to assist with vaginal delivery looks approximately like a big pair of salad tongs. Forceps apply to the baby’s head so that the doctor can guide the baby out of the birth canal while you push.
Though rare, there is a risk of serious injuries to your baby from a forceps delivery. These include intracranial bleeding, skull fracture and seizures. There are also risks for injuries that are usually minor and temporary, such as marks on the face where the forceps have applied pressure, external eye trauma or facial muscle weakness.
Forceps delivery also increases the likelihood of injuries to you during delivery. Before applying the forceps, it may be necessary for your doctor to incise the tissue between your anus and vagina in a procedure called an episiotomy. You could also experience rupture of the uterus or tears of the lower genital tract. Forceps delivery could lead to organ prolapse by weakening the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor.
Alternatives to forceps delivery include vacuum-assisted delivery and cesarean section, but these pose risks of their own. Your doctor should discuss your options with you, including the risks of each.