Thoughts on forceps

(100 Posts)
Sammi1986 Sat 14-Sep-13 13:23:08

Hi all, I'm only 8+3 so it's a loooong way off yet, but I'm wondering how safe forceps really are?

They terrify me and I have always said I would refuse to have forceps if i needed an assisted birth because of the horror stories I have heard.

Are my fears genuine or unessasary? Is vacuum better or if it comes to it is a c-section better? Obviously I'm hoping I would never need anything.

I think I've been watching too many "one born every minute"!

Bubbles1066 Sun 13-Oct-13 09:38:34

I've had 2 assisted deliveries. My first was because baby was too low down but stuck solid as he was back to back so they used a ventouse. I had a second degree tare (no episiotomy) and he had a cone head which went in a few days. No long term issues for either of us. My daughter also got stuck, they tried forceps in the delivery room as she was too high for a ventouse but it was too painful so they took me to theatre to try again under a spinal which worked quickly. She had red lines on the side of her face which faded quickly. I had an episiotomy that healed quickly and there are no long term issues apparent for either of us so far (she is 16 months). No problems with my pelvic floor or continence. I'm glad they used forceps as it meant a much quicker recovery for me.

theothermrssoos Thu 10-Oct-13 18:38:52

This was almost 9 years ago and even typing the word "forceps" makes me gip and my fan fan cringe.

Id like to add that I did go on to have 2 more children - who came out very quickly and easily.

theothermrssoos Thu 10-Oct-13 18:35:34

I had a forceps birth that left me with PTSD and severe PND.

I wasn't asked, they just did it. Ventouse failed. I had the high forceps and they also turned baby as they were dragging him out of my body.

They refused to give me ANY pain relief, the pethidine had worn off hours before, and the midwife grabbed the gas & air off me and refused to hand it back.

My son has been wearing strong glasses since he was a little over a year old, had has 2 eye surgeries and is almost blind because of the delivery.

I understand this isn't the case with all forceps birth and the hospital in question has since admitted negligence etc.

Discolite Sun 06-Oct-13 16:23:28

I had forceps (Neville Barnes). I had an active and speedy labour for a first timer and once I was fully dilated spent 90 minutes pushing in the birthing pool in a wide variety of positions (which was lovely!). After that I pushed on the bed for a bit, then they stuck in a drip to help with contractions...but nothing worked! DS was well and truly stuck, with his chin stuck out instead of tucked in and his head was hitting the cervix off centre.

In the end it was theatre and forceps. He was out very quickly and did have two pretty bad bruises across his head but now at 7 months old one has faded to nothing and the other - I'm sure only I notice it now. I had a pretty big episiotomy but that healed up well and I'm nearly back to normal now. My pelvic floor isn't what it used to be but I think 2.5 hrs of pushing as hard as I possibly could messed that up, not the forceps.

Looking at my friends who had CS, I think I had a better recovery and I'm very grateful that forceps exist as they saved the life of my baby (and possibly me). The problem with saying 'no forceps' or anything else on a birth plan is that there are so many variables involved. I didn't get the perfect birth experience that I hoped for but it could have been so so much worse and we are both now healthy and alive.

Birth is a potentially risky business and I am thankful that I live in an age where we have options. Don't dismiss forceps automatically. A few people have awful experiences but most people don't.

Minifingers Tue 01-Oct-13 17:15:26

"So to the poster early on who suggested that a home birth was the way to avoid forceps, that just isn't true."

You are right that some women will need to transfer in from a home birth for a forceps birth. But the forceps rate for first time mums who book a homebirth is 6.8%, compared to 9.8% of similar first time mums who start off in hospital.

So it does seem to reduce the incidence of forceps.

capercaillie Tue 01-Oct-13 16:13:32

I had a forceps delivery with DS. I transferred in from a planned home birth because of a slow fail to progress labour. So to the poster early on who suggested that a home birth was the way to avoid forceps, that just isn't true.

DS was a low forceps delivery. I suspect he could have been born without them but staff were in the 'get this baby out now' mode. Equally, they may well have saved his life. I did give my consent - to the 'we are going to use forceps, OK' question. I did ask why no ventouse but apparently no time.

Recovery was difficult and painful.

I think to say no forceps denies the reality of childbirth. The candlelight and calm labour will not happen for everyone. Even my 2nd birth (at home) was not all like that. DS was in a bad position to labour successfully.

Minifingers Tue 01-Oct-13 16:01:52

"I had ventouse as my DD had shoulder dysocia (sp?). It was a choice between that, with an episiotomy, or DD possibly died!"

I'm surprised you were told that ventouse was used to resolve a shoulder dystocia. My understanding is that instruments should NEVER be used in a case of suspected shoulder dystocia - pulling on a baby's head when their shoulder is impacted on the pubic bone (which is what a shoulder dystocia is) is what causes severe brachial plexus injury, which is the most common side-effect of a badly managed shoulder dystocia, and one of the main money spinners for lawyers dealing with birth injury claims.

Minifingers Tue 01-Oct-13 15:59:09

Cochrane review of the evidence on forceps vs ventouse finds (obviously) more perineal trauma and third degree tears associated with forceps.

But it shows no obvious difference in severe neonatal outcomes (which were rare anyway) between the two. Babies born by forceps have more facial trauma. Babies born by ventouse have more scalp trauma and retinal haemorrhages are more likely.

I had forceps with dd1. She was massive, and I'd had an epidural. She was bruised, jaundiced and didn't feed all that well. I had a knackered pelvic floor (still do!). But I can't imagine ventouse would have got her out given her size, and I wouldn't have wanted a c/s.

BenNJerry Tue 01-Oct-13 10:20:19

I had emergency forceps and an episiotomy. I was told baby was very close to bladder and they would end up damaging it if I had a CS and I wouldn't have chosen that route anyway (unless necessary). He was fine, red marks on the face for a few days after but no lasting damage. I did lose a lot of blood and ended up on iron supplements for 10 weeks as I developed anaemia. No toilet issues here (apart from the first couple of days after but I think that happens to most people) and was completely healed after about 8 weeks.

I see that people have had some awful experiences with them but I was very relieved in the end. Midwives didn't realise that baby wasn't turned the right way. I was pushing for almost 6 hours with nobody aware of this. Doctor came and examined me, gave me a form to sign straightaway to agree to a blood transfusion if need be and whisked me straight off to theatre. By that point I was so grateful to be having an assisted birth as baby was in distress and there was no way I could have given birth naturally. I really believe it was the best thing for both of us and it all turned out fine.

FeckOffCup Mon 30-Sep-13 23:02:47

I had forceps in the delivery room of the MLU almost 3 years ago, gas and air only no epidural. It was pretty horrendous for me and I lost a lot of blood and ended up having to be kept in hospital for 4 days. DD didn't have a mark on her though and was a very placid baby so I'm guessing they didn't damage her at all.

imnotalone Sun 29-Sep-13 21:46:55

There is clearly no right or wrong answer here as some have been very lucky with outcomes. I would say that's more down to the user than the equipment. DC1 was stuck & not turning properly after a 24 hr labour & more than 2 hrs of pushing. They wheeled me off to theatre, tried the ventouse which slipped off spraying blood everywhere. So the idiot registrar decided forceps were the way to go but didn't know what he was doing as he used both types & kept reinserting them. He went against NICE guidelines & used them at least 4 times. Then decided the baby was crowning (it wasn't, their head was so mashed up by what he had done it had swollen & elongated) so gave me an episiotomy which cut an artery causing severe blood loss.

When he finally realised the baby just wasn't coming, the midwife had to push them back up for an emergency CS. The comments about baby being too far down are wrong. Unless baby is actually crowning, they can be pushed back up for CS (although clearly not ideal).

As a result, I had a 4th degree tear, recto-vaginal fistula which took 6 operations to repair & a colostomy for 3 years.

Needless to say I'm not a fan of assisted delivery but maybe if I'd been in the hands of a competent doctor it would have been a lot different...

MiaowTheCat Wed 25-Sep-13 12:25:59

Both of mine had jaundice to the extent of needing a good couple of days of phototherapy - forceps and no forceps "sod it world I'm coming now and you WILL bow down and tell me I'm adorable" speedy birth... think it's just one of those things that happens tbh.

Shnickshnack Wed 25-Sep-13 09:42:07

Dc2 had to have forceps during a planned section. She was also jaundiced for several weeks.

Some posters have mentioned forceps and their newborns being jaundiced. Is there a connection? Sorry probably a very ignorant question...

sparklekitty Wed 25-Sep-13 08:59:56

I had ventouse as my DD had shoulder dysocia (sp?). It was a choice between that, with an episiotomy, or DD possibly died! Didn't even cross my mind to refuse. My reaction would have been the same with forceps.

My DD had an awfully mis shapen head, even the MW and HV commented. The paediatrician said she had a head ache for the first 4 weeks of her life.

Saying that we took her to a cranial osteopath who took 6 sessions to sort her out but at 1yo she is fine.

tobiasfunke Wed 25-Sep-13 08:59:44

I had an emergency forceps. Episotomy healed up quickly and fine. My baby was out in about 5 minutes. Every minute counts in an emergency situation and I'd rather they used forceps than the extra time it would've taken to get a c-section.

OneMoreThenNoMore Wed 25-Sep-13 08:52:19

I've had two forceps deliveries, both due to complications in labour that led to the babies heart rates dropping and having to get them out quickly.

For the first birth I was prepped for a section but found that I was fully dilated by the time we got to theatre; trial of ventouse failed so forceps were used. There was barely a mark on dd, just a little bit of redness on her right temple. I had an episiotomy and also tore. It took me about 8 or 9 weeks to be able to walk a couple of miles without feeling soreness; a few months before we attempted to dtd, but no lasting damage. I'd had the placenta manually removed so that may have added to my recovery time though...

With ds, forceps were used in the delivery room (epidural already in place as it had been a complicated labour so far); again, barely a mark on ds (though he scratched his face a couple of hours later and still has the scar nearly two years on hmm). I had an episiotomy again, and also tore the scar from my previous tear. Initially my wounds were much more sore than first time around, but overall my recovery was much quicker.

Forceps saved the lives of my babies, and I was glad at the time that I'd avoided emcs; however I would not want to go through it a third time! If I were to get pregnant again, I would be asking for an elcs. Two forceps deliveries is enough for anyone, and I'm very aware that we have been lucky not to have any long term damage.

Not sure if that's helpful or not... smile

20wkbaby Tue 24-Sep-13 18:58:58

I had forceps in the delivery room in 2008. I got an episiotomy and a quick recovery. DD had a small red mark that was gone within 24 hours. A friend who was in the same hospital had her DS the day before, had ventouse but was told they didn't do episiotomies. She ended up with a third degree tear and opted for a CS with her 2nd child as she was so nervous. Thankfully her DS was fine.

it just goes to show it is more complicated than just CS vs forceps or ventouse vs forceps.

MiaowTheCat Tue 24-Sep-13 18:33:57

My opinion of them verges on the unprintable.

Physically - I got off fine from the forceps. Bad 3rd degree tear which healed ok. However - I had had severe SPD to the extent I'd been housebound since about 20 weeks and spent most nights sobbing in pain. When they started discussing forceps I tried desperately to get them to note my pain free gap with the SPD so they wouldn't pull my legs around too badly and cause long term damage because the thought of being left with that pain permanently was awful. They ignored me, just shouted and shouted and shouted trying to bully consent out of me... finally wafted a tape measure at me not taking a measurement at all and dragged me off to theatre where they manhandled me like a lump of meat - shoved my legs further apart than they'd been back when I was a teenager and could do the splits with ease, I had a reaction to the spinal block and was shaking uncontrollably and no one told me why so I thought I was dying... and then the fucking cunting arsehole bastards whacked a social services referral on me as a "resistant patient" meaning I spent the first days of my daughter's life wondering if I'd be allowed to keep her - how the fuck can you bond with a child that way.

So I have a permanent "family known to social services" tag on my file that I've got no ability to have struck off and that will be hanging over our heads for life, permanent pain from the SPD meaning I can get out and about with the kids once a week when I can get the car as if I walk anywhere I'm in pain for days, PTSD... yeah - I don't exactly have warm fuzzy feelings about forceps because of all that.

Second birth I didn't feel I would be allowed to refuse them so I went with the angle that "I WILL flip out if forceps come into the equation - please if it's heading remotely in that direction discuss all available options with me EARLY - I apologise in advance if I do flip out and get distressed." The staff on that (different) labour ward were utterly horrified when they heard the reasons for that... and DD2 came hurtling out ridiculously fast of her own accord anyway.

Woodifer Tue 24-Sep-13 14:17:11

i had keiland rotational forceps 4 weeks ago on DS.

He was back to back.

My whoe labour was v fast and intense (2 hours door to delivery).

When my waters there was meconium. They got a heart rate monitoring clip on his head and this indicated fetal distress.

I was whipped to theatre and given spinal (no time for epidural!) at this point I think htey hadn't decided on CS or forceps - I was less scared at the idea of forceps than the thought of being cut open!.

He had the slightest red mark on his cheek immediately after birth (that didn't even become a bruise).

Feel nearly recovered - had episiotomy (and some bruising but no further tearing).

Lost some blood from the episiotomy during the stitiching (1litre) but they did a good job.

DD was ventouse with episiotomy - I think this recovery similar marginally quicker.

Personally I am glad with a toddler DD that I didn't have a CS - i.e. I can hoik her around/ drive etc.

rallytog1 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:04:23

HavantGuard no my friends with forceps deliveries haven't told me about faecal incontinence and prolapse - but I have told them about mine (post-emcs)!

As Penelope said, all kinds of birth methods will have some horror stories attached to them, simply because no two mothers are the same and no two babies are the same, so nothing is an exact science where giving birth is concerned. However, in the vast majority of cases where forceps are used, the baby is delivered safely and the mother usually recovers relatively quickly.

stargirl1701 Mon 23-Sep-13 13:13:26

I would not consent to Kiellands (sp?) forceps. But, normal forceps would be fine.

Ericadm Mon 23-Sep-13 13:08:33

I had forceps after 1.5 hrs of pushing with no progress. I asked for ventouse but they put me off by saying due to the position of the baby still quite high up forceps was the best option for baby. I had to have an episotomy and then I torn badly when baby was pulled out (3rd degree tear). Ended up with lots and lots of stiches (they took me to theatre and it took them more than an hour to stich me up!). Luckily I had an epidural so I did not feel a thing at the time, but recovery was very slow, probably similiar to c-section. I felt quite swollen and unconfortable although I was on strong painkillers which took away most of the pain. Baby had forceps bruises along both cheeks. With hindsight, I would probably refuse to consent to forceps and would asked for a C-section instead.

PenelopeLane Sun 22-Sep-13 22:43:56

I had forceps for DS and no faecal incontinence or prolapse HavantGuard. My recovery was far far faster than a friend who had a CS at a similar time, and DS had no after effects at all apart from a slight bruise that went away after 24 hours. If I found myself in the same position during labour again (baby in distress, low in the birth canal, his heart rate dropping) I wouldn't hesitate to have forceps used again. Not for a minute.

I think there are horror stories around regardless of what birthing method is used - VBAC, assisted VBAC, CS ....

JollySleepyGiant Sun 22-Sep-13 21:49:00

DS was born with forceps. Two yanks and he was out. He has a very small scar in his hair. I was in theatre, prepped for emcs with a spinal. DS was in distress and I had a punctured lung so the most important thing for both of us was speed.

HavantGuard Sun 22-Sep-13 21:41:27

Would your friends tell you about faecal incontinence or prolapse?

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