Forceps and Vacuum Extractions
Many pregnant women hope and plan for an unassisted vaginal delivery, but this isn’t always possible. Doctors sometimes must use assistive devices to help guide a baby through the birth canal. Most commonly, a doctor uses either forceps or a vacuum extraction to help pull the baby down through the birth canal. Although these techniques are quite routine and usually not harmful to the mother or infant, if a doctor uses one improperly or does not choose the right method of assistance for the circumstances at hand, serious injury could result. Improper or inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extraction leading to injury is a type of medical malpractice. If your family has been harmed by negligence of this type, continue reading to learn more or call our offices at (312) 236-2900 to speak to a trusted Chicago malpractice attorney.
Who Needs Assistance?
Often, you won’t know if you’ll need an assisted birth until you’re already in labor. Your doctor may employ an extraction technique if:
- You’ve been pushing for a long time
- You’re too exhausted to continue with labor
- Something is off with your baby’s heart rate
There are two common methods of assisted deliveries. Forceps have been used for many years, and are like large tongs that your doctor will use to gently grip your baby’s head and pull him or her down through the birth canal.
Vacuum extraction accomplishes the same thing except it uses suction pressure. With this method, a soft or metal cup will attach to your baby’s skull and the suction pressure will guide him or her into the world.
Although serious injuries are rare, if your doctor uses the wrong technique or uses either method without due care, they can and do happen. Common complications include:
- Permanent disfigurement from excessive pressure of the instrument
- Erb’s Palsy, which is nerve damage to the shoulder causing limited mobility or paralysis in the arm and hand. Rushed forceps deliveries are especially susceptible to this type of injury.
With Vacuum Extraction:
- Disfigurement of the skull and scalp from excessive pressure
- Injury to mom if the vacuum cup detaches inside of her or is inserted improperly
- Bleeding between the scalp and the skull, which if untreated could lead to anemia, seizure, shock, or death
- Injuries to the eye
There are also some circumstances when attempting a vacuum extraction is not always recommended. That can happen when:
- Your doctor already tried to assist your delivery with forceps and was unsuccessful.
- Your baby is premature.
- Your baby is breech.
- Your pelvis is too small to accommodate vaginal delivery.
Assisted delivery techniques are routinely used and relatively safe. There is no excuse for permanent injury resulting from their use. If you or your baby was injured because of a forceps or vacuum extraction injury due to a physician’s negligence, you may need an experienced Chicago malpractice attorney. Please call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free consultation. We’re ready to give you the care you deserve.