The use of a forceps is never a first option for the doctor during a childbirth. The forceps constitute a means to either facilitate the descent of the baby in the basin of its mother or to accelerate the birth in certain circumstances. Although no one wants the doctor to have to use it, we still recognize its usefulness during a more difficult labor or delivery.
It is important to talk about this during prenatal classes since you never know whether or not forceps will be necessary for us during the last stage of our labor.
The forceps is a metal instrument shaped like a double spoon that is inserted into the vagina and applied to either side of the baby’s head. It can be used to rotate the baby’s misaligned head or to help the baby come out during fetal distress (decreasing heart rate). It is certain that such an intervention is not done without first relieving the mother with local or regional anesthesia.
The experienced caregiver will assess whether the mother’s pelvis seems adequate, whether the bladder is empty, whether the baby’s presentation is known and allows this maneuver, whether the membrane is well ruptured and whether the baby is properly engaged before proceeding with the procedure technical as such. If the baby is assessed to be too large, or if the cervix is not fully dilated, or the baby is still too high in the pelvis, then it will be contraindicated to use forceps and in these cases precise, the cesarean will be more appropriate with the help of cesarean section surgical instrument set.
The most common indications for using a forceps are stopping the baby’s descent, fetal distress, head mispositioning, maternal fatigue, or mother’s heart disease or others.
I would understand that when talking to you about such an instrument you would be a little afraid of such a procedure, but I would add that this tool has often helped prevent many complications in more difficult births. It is enough to put yourself in an emergency context for the perception to be quite different. For example, lying in a hospital bed, in labor, with your baby’s heart rate falling…
I admit that I don’t know anyone who says no to the chance to have their baby in good health, with all their problems. Faculties and the technique suddenly take on much less importance. For more details on this subject you can watch my video Childbirth in a birthing room.
After a birth with the use of a forceps, I often suggest that parents have their baby seen by an osteopath, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor authorized to work with babies to check the structures of their infant: sutures of the skull, displacement, neck (torticollis), compressions or unusual tensions in order to prevent the related inconveniences. Good treatment for the mother is also a good idea in the postnatal period.
Take care of yourself and we’ll talk to you soon!
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