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Assisted Birth - Forceps

Forceps Delivery Diagram

Sometimes baby can need a little bit of help making its way down the birth canal. Yes, it can be scary but sometimes it is necessary. There are 2 different methods for an assisted birth, forceps and vacuum.

The best way to describe forceps is a large pair of metal salad tongs. Forceps are applied to each side of the baby's head and then interlocked at the base. Resistance is applied to move the baby while the mother is pushing during a contraction. Forceps are only used if baby is showing signs of distress or labour is not progressing as it should. If assisted delivery is unsuccessful, the doctors are likely to opt for a caesarean section.

Forceps deliveries cannot be performed if:

- baby has a condition that affects the strength of their bones

- a bleeding disorder by mum or baby

- baby hasn't descended to midway of the birth canal

- unknown position of head

- shoulders/arms leading through birth canal

- size of baby (oversized for mother’s hips)

Risks to Mum

- perineum damage or episiotomy

- difficulty passing urine or emptying the bladder

- incontinence

- bladder/urethra injury

- uterine rupture

- weakening of the pelvic floor muscles

Risks to Baby

- facial injuries

- skull fractures

- bleeding within the skull

- seizures

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