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Informed Consent for Forceps Delivery

Nov 8, 2017 | Birth Injuries, Firm News

A woman typically has several months to get to know her doctor and prepare a birthing plan before she goes into labor in Indiana. During that time, the two of them should discuss any risk factors and contingency plans that may be necessary to implement if things go wrong. According to Medscape, one of these may be a forceps delivery, but this method comes with its own risks, particularly if the doctor does not have sufficient training and experience with this method.

Some of the most common injuries that occur due to the forceps delivery affect the mother. These may cause tears, nerve damage or issues with bodily functions, as well as a longer recovery period.

Complications for the baby may have a lower rate of incidence, but they may also be more severe, and some of them have the potential to be permanent. Potential risks include the following:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Slightly lower IQ
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Skull fractures
  • Facial nerve damage

There is also a higher rate of intracranial hemorrhage among babies who are delivered with forceps over those who do not require assistance. However, some studies indicate that this risk may be associated with the difficult labor rather than the method of delivery. Risks of bleeding in the brain are similar to the rates for those who are delivered via vacuum or C section.

Healthline.com points out that because the risks of injury to the mother and the baby are directly related to a doctor’s training and skill, this should be a discussion women may want to initiate with their obstetricians. However, a doctor may be expected to broach the subject first in the interest of informed consent due to the likelihood that this type of delivery will occur in an emergency situation where the discussion would not be possible.