Forceps and / or ventouse - why are they so bad?

(76 Posts)

Okay, bit naive here I know, but I figured if that if I never ask I'd also never know.

So, can you tell me what's so horrific (as I have gleaned from various threads) about both ventouse and forceps deliveries? And, is the likelihood of having one very high?

Yours nervously, Cx

christina1971 Sat 12-Dec-09 20:34:46

Can only speak from personal experience, (I had a forceps delivery) and I reassure you I feel much better 12 weeks later, but the use of forceps can damage the pelvic floor, and will need episiotomy (mine tore badly!!). I needed forceps because DS (big baby) would not turn- thank God had had epidural, and felt nothing at the time.

The obs should only try to pull 3 times during a forceps birth, according to the books - that's what mine did- she was great. DS had a little cut on his forehead and bruised ear, but all fine now. I took him to a chiropractor for cranial massage in case he had headaches, but everything ok.

I read somewhere - don't know if this is reliable, that 1 in 100 births require forceps, and 4 in 100 ventouse. Try not to worry - try to go with the flow, and don't be afraid to ask for early pain relief if you need it. Much more likely that you won't need either forceps or ventouse.

Eurgh! Sounds eye watering to say the least (sorry!) This is obviously my naivity speaking but I thought forceps or ventouse made things easier, but, now I am thinking about them properly, perhaps it is more to do with yanking the baby out asap. And, why did you baby need to turn?

ps thanks for replying!!

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 20:40:48

I had a forceps delivery and what I found so horrible was:

1) they didn't allow me to have any pain relief before they performed it which meant I felt all of it in a lot of detail.

2) the sensation of the forceps being inserted was horrible, can only liken it to some kind of rape/assault (physical similarity I mean) in it's forcefulness

3) I saw them coming towards me with the massive pair of scissors which they then cut me open with

4) in my case there was meconium in the water and because the baby was in distress there was a rushed, emergency feel to it

5) the recovery was horrible. masses of stitches and couldn't sit down properly for ages.

Some people I know have said they found it fine though (though many others not)

lilacpink Sat 12-Dec-09 20:41:32

I had ventouse with my DD, I think it helped and she didn't have any marks (but she was average size and right way around). I had meconium in the amniotic fluid so I they wanted to speed things up at the end - also I was v tired! The episiotomy and stitches hurt a lot, but I was able to walk the next day and healed quickly (a few weeks).

Truth is you won't care what they do at the end - as long as your baby comes out. I'm week 36, not looking forward to labour, but looking forward to labour ending and the rest of my future with 2 DCs grin

I know nothing about this from a clinical POV, but I did have a ventouse delivery.
It hurt quite a lot having the suction cup inserted, but I did only have gas and air. I didn't need episiotomy. I did tear a little, but nothing serious and it healed up a treat.

They are not great, but in a lot of situations they are vital - the baby has to come out, and come out asap and forceps and ventouse do a great job in helping things along.

Having said that, I had forceps and I definitely won't be going back for a second delivery like that. (too much information warning coming up!) They used forceps on me cause DD was looking over her shoulder and hence got stuck and wouldn't decend. They had to do an episiotomy (sp) to get the forceps in and then used them to reposition her, and then pulled her out. Unfortunately the episotomy tore further and I ended up with a third degree tear. This has left me with faecal incontience. I might have torn this badly anyway without the forceps, I'll never know. At least I have a healthy baby. HOwever if I had had a c-section I would have had a more traumatic recovery in the short term, but less long term health problems.

In short I think people feel they are horrific cause they are quite brutal, (but necessary at the time) and can be unpredictable in their long term effects - both to baby and mum. Unlike a section which is pretty horrific, but I think a year later most mums have recovered from

Sorry this is so long, and I hope it helps and hasn't scared you senseless!

Ivykaty44 Sat 12-Dec-09 20:45:20

I had failed ventouse and emergency sectin then second dd I had failed ventouse and foceps.

TBH it was fine, small prick for a jab and they cut me - dont remember any pain from either instrument, certainly not like the other poor lady above.

I was apparently badly bruised but sat on sheepskin for a few days and was up and about fine.

much easier than section and less bother afterwards.

They tried a Kiwi (think its a miini ventouse) with DS1 which tore me inside, and then had to use forceps.

When they came in with the forceps DH had to leave in tears because he was so worried.

I am also one of the 10% of people whose epidural didn't work so I felt the internal tear, forceps and episiotomy, But did get local for stitching and can't even remember it being painfull for healing or weeing or anything - DS is also fine

Although writing this does make me panic as DC2 is due in 12 weeks and I really don't want an epi this time round.

I think if you look at my pics you can see a bit of the forceps mark on DS1 but it went really quickly (think by the time my family first met him at 5 days old)

hanaflower Sat 12-Dec-09 20:49:09

I had a ventouse delivery and have had a bladder prolapse. Not sure if it was the ventouse which led to this, or the fact that DS was stuck leading to the need for the ventouse.
Plus you have to be on your back (which hurts more), and are likely to need an episiotomy.

fizzpops Sat 12-Dec-09 20:56:55

I too had forceps delivery after they tried and failed for a ventouse. This was because there was meconium in the amnotic fluid and then I was put on a monitor and had to lie on my back which slowed down the contractions and so they needed to get DD out.

I had an episiotomy first and had no problems healing afterwards but forceps on just gas and air is no fun at all. As soon as DD arrived I was all smiles and DH was shaking and tearful. I think in a way the experience was worse for him.

Funnily enough my sister had had an almost exact same birth experience a year earlier (different hospitals) even down to birth weight and time of birth. Has got me thinking about the role of genes in birth experiences. My BIL also seems to have suffered as a result - the first thing he said when he saw my Mum was, 'Never again!'. The first thing my sister said to me was, 'I'd do it all again tomorrow. It was worth it!'.

I am now thinking about trying for a second child and about all the questions I need to ask my MW to try and prevent a similar thing happening again - first time ignorance is definitely bliss!

cat64 Sat 12-Dec-09 20:57:09

Message withdrawn

christina1971 Sat 12-Dec-09 20:57:57

Just answering your question about baby needing to turn - he was in back to back position, so back of head against my spine, and chin up - painful and slows things down because of angle of birth canal, apparently. More difficult for poor baby, of course. Obs turned him and then pulled.

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:01:50

I'll second what cat said about how you just want the baby out.

I would have preferred a c-section but DD was too far down and stuck for that to be an option by that point so I pretty much knew this was going to be the quickest way to get it over with (had already had failed ventouse by that point).

Oh my dear god... Serves me right for asking I suppose! Am I better being informed or not..?
Hope the end result makes up for it ten-fold!

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:04:41

Well according to christina's stats there's not much chance of it happening to you so fingers crossed and good luck!

Peta100 Sat 12-Dec-09 21:04:42

I also had failed ventouse and forceps attempts before an emergency c-section. The obs said he would hurt the baby if he continued.

I found it very traumatic, all a shakey blur unfortunately. Next baby will be an elective section if I have anything to do with it!!

They are not bad. A forceps delivery saved my baby's (and who knows, maybe also my?) life. He was stuck in the posterior position, hadn't moved further down the canal in 2 hours. I will be forever grateful to the doctor who came in and said to me "Don't worry, I'm going to get your baby out now" and went on to do so.

Yes ds had bruises on his head, and yes I had an episiotomy and found it hard to sit down or poo for a couple of weeks. I didn't have an epidural either (not an option) but I found pethidine sufficient. I was upset about the pain and the episiotomy for a few days afterwards but my greatest surprise and joy was to discover my son was alive. Always remember that if you have to have a forceps or ventouse delivery.

They are only bad if they are used unnecessarily.

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:08:23

They can still be bad Dumbledoresgirl.

Sorry, I'm glad you didn't consider your experience to be bad.

I did.

It's not a universal experience.

I didn't say I didn't consider my experience bad! It was bloody horrendous. I dreaded childbirth through every subsequent pregnancy. Fortunately, I was lucky to go on to have 2 straightforward births followed by another posterior baby which nevertheless my body was able to give birth to unaided (amazing how the body learns to do this - I was told this by medical staff).

So, no, it wasn't a happy experience for me. But it was vastly happier than the possible alternative which was a dead baby and/or a dead mother. Which is what I said in my first post.

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:12:45

Well, you said "they are not bad".

They were in my experience.

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:14:00

Then you said:

"They are only bad if they are used unnecessarily."

Which again, was not my experience.

Re-reading your first post, Ghouls, I would say I felt pretty much identically to you, except I did not feel it was like rape. i was so far gone, I am not sure I felt anything. I was convinced my baby was dead.

But would you rather your baby had died? shock

I would rather anything than that my baby had died.

GhoulsAreLoud Sat 12-Dec-09 21:16:03

Oh yes, I'd rather my baby had died hmm

What a ridiculous thing to say.

I'm going now, I can't deal with this kind of utter crap.

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