The risks of forceps delivery as experienced by a mum
One mum is seeking to raise awareness about the risks of forceps of delivery to so that other mums won't have to go through the same ordeal she did...
Though mums-to-be and doctors prepare for birth as much as they can, sometimes they have no choice but to improvise when things don’t go as planned in the delivery room. A forceps delivery procedure, for instance, is needed if the baby is having trouble coming out of the birth canal.
Trained medical professionals may opt for a forceps delivery when faced with certain dangers during delivery, like an abnormal foetal heart rate or if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition. However, in some cases, it can cause injuries to both you and your baby.
Amy Dawes, 37, from Sydney, Australia shares how a forceps delivery procedure injured her for life. When she was in labour with her first child, the mum recalls having difficulty pushing.
“I wanted my baby to have the best start of life and I really believed a vaginal birth would be the way to do that,” she told Yahoo News.
But when she delivered her baby girl Eliya via a forceps delivery, she suffered severe bleeding and third degree tears.
“I didn’t realise the extent of the injuries,” Dawes continues.
She confides how at 16 months postpartum, she suffered a severe prolapse. This injury tore her pelvic floor muscle from the bone, leaving little to no support for her bladder and uterus.
It’s been five years, but the lifelong injuries changed her life. She was told to avoid lifting her baby or playing sports, which she says is a “massive part” of her life.
“I felt old before my time,” laments Dawes, adding how her basic way of life has been altered. She couldn’t even run after her own child, which was simply devastating.
Now a mum of two, Dawes recalls how she was forced to choose between a forceps delivery procedure or a caesarean section. She chose the former, knowing only of the risks involved in a c-section.
Dawes recalls how no one educated her about the dangers in forceps-assisted deliveries.
Had she known about the risks, she believes she would have been more “open-minded” about getting a caesarean.
In an effort to raise awareness of the risks of forceps delivery procedure, Dawes co-founded the Australasian Birth Trauma Association support group. She also urges Australian hospitals to consider banning the use of forceps during delivery.
Here are some risks mums-to-be should be aware of.
Risks for mum:
- Severe vaginal tears that will take time to heal. In some cases, these injuries could warrant surgery.
- Urination and bowel movement problems after delivery.
Risks for baby:
- Bruises, scrapes, and bumps on the baby’s head or face. These may take weeks to heal.
- Swollen or misshapen (cone-like) head upon delivery. This usually resolves in a day or two.
- Nerve injury due to forceps’ pressure, which can cause temporary drooping of the face.
- Cuts and bleeding because of the forceps can happen, though the incidence is rare.
- Internal injuries may also occur (very rare).
Though these risks are rare, they are important to discuss with your doctor. The important thing to focus on is to educate yourself so you can make the best decision for your precious baby, and you.