Csection or forceps

(92 Posts)
BusyBee86 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:25:02

What would you prefer to have if you had the choice? Csection or forceps and other intervention?

What was your recovery like if you have had either of these?

smile4me Sun 03-Mar-13 20:29:26

Forceps - have seen the most disgusting c-section wound infections, (pus and unhealing wounds) enough to put me off unless no other options. Also high risk of adhesions and fibroids (affecting future fertility) and placenta acreta. So I'd take the forceps!

space21 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:30:11

I had forceps, ventouse and an epidural. They had to turn him in the both canal!! Can't comment on CS but recovery was fine with nothing out of the ordinary.
Why you asking?

PetiteRaleuse Sun 03-Mar-13 20:31:45

C-section. Now I've done that twice there is no way I would contemplate trying to give birth vaginally.

BusyBee86 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:37:46

I had a traumatic birth with my first. Had to have two blood transfusions. Saw consultant about possibly having a csection. She said I can have one if I want one. But trying to figure out which would be best.
I know if I give birth naturally again I will def have an epidural(they are amazingsmile) but I also know that you have more chance of needing forceps etc. so just weighing both options up really.

salcz Sun 03-Mar-13 20:44:05

I had a c-section and twas great! I knew I was going to have one and so I researched it. Except he was early and breech so it ended up being an ECS but I still found it to be calm despite being in the wrong hospital, 65 miles from home.

TheCrackFox Sun 03-Mar-13 20:46:59

I have had a c-section and a forceps delivery. I would choose c-section by a country mile.

AmandinePoulain Sun 03-Mar-13 20:51:43

Section all the way!

I had a failed ventouse then emcs for dd1, and I know that there are differences between forceps and ventouse but she had a really nasty bruise from the ventouse sad that I had been really against them doing (I wanted to go straight for a cs when if was clear that she wanted to stay put, I really didn't want the ventouse but I was so exhausted by then that I was coerced). My recovery from the cs was absolutely fine, and from the ELCS I had for dd2 six months ago. With my ELCS I was home the next day, walking normally within a week and driving 3 weeks later. So CS all the way grin

C section.

I had failed forceps and ventouse - they were trying to rotate DD's head and she kept turning it back. Gave birth by EMCS and had a great recovery - was mobile within 8 hours, paracetamol and diclofenac for pain relief, no infection and beautifully done sutures.

Meanwhile a friend had forceps exactly one month before me and she was still recovering when I gave birth. And her episiotomy sutures ruptured. Twice. She had a valley cushion for ages sad

Everyone is different and every birth is different but much as I would like to try for a VBAC next time, I'm not sorry that I had an EMCS rather than forceps

AngryGnome Sun 03-Mar-13 21:31:52

C section all the way. I had a failed forceps attempt which left ds with facial scarring. Unless you live somewhere where not being able to drive for 6 weeks would be a total PITA, then I think recovery from c section is usually not a problem for most women.

BusyBee86 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:42:33

So it looks like csection is the way to go. Has anyone had a csection who also has a toddler? Will be almost 3. Was recovery much more difficult with a toddler around?

emsibub Sun 03-Mar-13 21:55:00

Did you need forceps last time? I think forceps... I had them last time with an episiotomy n a spinal and within hours was up. I also had a bad time 1st but the thought of that scar, the risk of infection, not being able to lift anything heavier than my baby for 6 weeks (DD will be 2.6) and no driving with a newborn n a toddler. I'd take a sore bum every time. Like you I'm having an epidural this time, no more being brave! Got me nowhere!

IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken Sun 03-Mar-13 21:55:36

I had both and would definitely opt for c section again. My youngest son is 5 months, when he was born by section my daughter was 4 and my son 15 months. In my experience I would have managed perfectly fine if I could have stayed in the house and only left if I felt up to it on a particular day. As it was I had to do the school run (5 mile drive then 500yard walk to door with infant carrier and toddler in arms) after less than a week. I got an infection but I still recovered in half the time it took to recover from 3rd degree tears with my first kids. If can take things at your own pace and have nowhere to be at a set time you should be fine.

1944girl Sun 03-Mar-13 22:06:41

I have only given birth by c-section-twice, so cannot compare with anything else.
All I remember from my stay in hospital was that I could walk around normally and also sit down.Some of the mothers who had had forceps could do none of these things.I could not bend over though, but that was nothing compared to what the poor girls who had forceps had to suffer.

Never had a C-section.
Had forceps. Was adamant throughout my pregnancy that the one thing i did not want to happen was a forceps delivery, having read some truly horrific stories. But...baby was in distress, 80+ hour labour, and 15 days overdue - forceps it was.
And, at the end of the day, i had a healthy baby, and i'm fit and healthy. But it wasn't pleasant for several weeks afterwards. Although, i don't suppose a c-section is either.

Nishky Sun 03-Mar-13 22:15:23

I had forceps for first and c-section for second. The forceps was much better for me - poor dd had a little bruise - but my recovery was way way quicker than the c-section. When my friend came to visit my first words were ' how anyone ELECTS that is beyond me'!

herethereandeverywhere Sun 03-Mar-13 22:24:25


My first birth was Keillands forceps, DD ended up with scarred face, my episiotomy broke down - i.e. gaping wound down below for 2 months which was not restitched so I just had to live with it there, I was faecally incontinent, couldn't feel my bladder to wee (although did not have urinary continence issues), DD was too battered and exhausted to feed and ended up with a gastro-nasal feeding tube, my milk didn't come in until day 6.

My second birth was ELCS, I was up and about as soon as the catheter was out, only in hospital for 2 nights, never needed to request top up morphine pain relief (so managed on diclofenac and paracetamol after the epidural wore off), all healed beautifully and I just stuck to the rules about no lifting exerting until after 6 weeks - piece of cake in comparison. Oh and my milk came in on day 3, DD2 fed beautifully from the off.

Re: toddler and CS recovery: just stick to the rules! I relied on my DH during his paternity leave then got my parents to stay an extra week after. I began refusing to lift DD1 when I was about 7 months pregnant just saying she was too big now and taught her how to get into and out of the bath using a step (with me supporting in case she slipped but not taking any weight). TBH the recovery was so much easier than after my first birth that managing a toddler around my recovery was a breeze. Rely on others to load and unload the washing machine, hoover etc. or save for a cleaner/mothers help for the few weeks after.

I cannot comment on other types of forceps but the risks associated with Keillands forceps which are used to keep c-section rates down (how the midwife introduced the consultant who butchered performed the procedure on me and DD) are so high that they are not used in the US as insurers won't cover Drs who use them (too costly to continually keep paying out for the damage they cause). I have until DD is 18 to decide whether to sue for the damage she will see in the mirror every day of her life.

trustissues75 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:38:14

Depends on the forceps from what I've read...I will be having it all over my notes that anything that requires more than just a little lift out is a no no and don't bother to try to persuade me because OH is on my side and won't allow me to be be bullied - I've read some truly terrible stuff about Kiellands and the other mid-cavity foreceps and if US insurers refuse to cover them because they are having their arses whipped with court proceedings over their use then that's a pretty good indicator for me that they are not to come near me with those things, especially if they're wanting to use them just so they might avoid a C-section for their league tables...

I had keillands forceps. I wasn't aware that there were different types of forceps...?
I had read about the risks associated with keillands, which is why i hadn't wanted a forceps delivery.
Does anyone know why they still use keillands if there are other forceps available which are 'less risky'?

trustissues75 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:48:57

Kiellands are for high cavity when the baby needs rotating - they are very high risk, require skill and, from what I can gather, rarely used but their use is increasing due to what appears to be the NHS reducing C-sections for reasons that I can only really understand as "just because". They are very dangerous in the wrong hands and even in the right hands they're not something you want...if they fail you end up with an emcs anyway and precious time wasted...I'd just go straight for the emcs and I'd be very bolshy about getting it.

I have no idea which forceps they attempted on me. Sometimes I think about asking to see my notes; I think it'd be quite interesting.

I had forceps first time and elcs second. I would take cs any day.
Took me 6 months to recover from forceps delivery, including an op after 4 months to repair the damage as best they could. I was feeling absolutely normal after about 10 days of cs and had to keep reminding myself not to do too much. I had 3 yr old at home after cs and it was fine as they don't need carrying or lifting really and that's just about the only thing you can't do for a while.

It is different for everyone and I would ask your consultant (if you trust her/him) or midwife what they would recommend in your case and trust them.

Haven't had forceps myself but had EMCS, VBAC, EMCS and ELCS. There have been good and bad things in every recovery and neither method of delivery in my experience is particularly pleasant.

My sister in law had forceps for her first and no other subsequent problems and has had relatively easy subsequent deliveries. Whereas a close friend had forceps, lots of trauma, repair surgery then a planned section. Baby was so big the pressure from carrying him has undone the majority of the repair work and she's got to have it redone despite a ELCS.

The baby is what makes it worthwhile though.

X-posted with trust - that's interesting; I assume Keilland's then but I was moved to theatre and prepped for a section before they tried forceps or ventouse (and manual rotation as my DH has just pointed out! ) I don't think they tried forceps for very long but I have no sense of time when recalling her birth - I'm sure I didn't push for long but DH says it was 2 hours.

Busy bees, you possible could have the option of planning a normal delivery but due to your history requesting in notes that no forceps and having unplanned csection if required (non emergency). That could give your the reassurance to avoid forceps but possible have a successful VB.

After my VBAC which was a little messy for various reasons I had quite a thorough management plan for my third which was very reassuring and despite moving and changing hospitals everyone was happy with it- although she didn't play ball so I had another EMCS but I felt a lot more confident about being listened to and therefore about the delivery.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 03-Mar-13 23:17:22

With respect, I "trusted" the consultant (many years experience at a large London teaching hospital) and look where it got me. Be aware of the hidden agenda that many healthcare professionals have. With hindsight my consultant was known for getting babies out with Keillands and keeping CS rates down. DD was really stuck, at one point he alluded to shoulder dystocia (called a colleague for assistance because "I have a shoulder problem") Yet STILL he persisted with the brutal things.

Do your own research and trust your own views is my advice.

atrcts Sun 03-Mar-13 23:19:26

ELCS over forceps without any hesitation.

I had forceps and episiotomy which took FOREVER to heal from and so is part of the reason I am being booked for CS this time round.

I had forcepts and lost a lot of blood with ds1 and recovery was slow.

Ds3 was an emcs which was far more uncomfortable than the forcepts delivery.

Ds4 is 4 weeks and was elcs, the spinal started wearing off before he was even born and they couldn't get it back on track so I had gas and air (didn't want another general) the scar became infected and started opening up 5 days later so it has been really difficult especially as ds3 is not yet 2.

I wouldn't want a csection again

SignoraStronza Sun 03-Mar-13 23:27:45

C section all the way,although have never had vb - just emcs and elcs.

First birth was in Italy where forceps are banned anyway, second in the UK and I wussed out of vbac for fear of possibility of syntocin and forceps.

My mum had me back in the 70s by 'high forceps' before she was fully dilated. It nearly killed her. V matter of fact in her description but the idea of those things fills me with dread.

Angelico Sun 03-Mar-13 23:35:38

CS over forceps a million times over. I do not know a single person with any kind of medical know-how who would pick forceps. They can cause horrific damage to mum and baby.

trustissues75 - thanks for that. Very informative...and frightening.

Agree with herethere, a consultant who is interested in achieving cs targets may simply not be interested in the potentially longer term health problems caused by other interventions. My first consultant insisted I went through 4 days of induction procedures including synto drip with no epidural on day four and then chaotic forceps delivery under spinal when ds found to be stuck high up. Both ds and I will have the scars permanently - the forceps cut his face badly as they turned him.
There is no reason to think that a planned cs will be problematic if you are healthy. For me there are just too many risk factors with forceps.

blondieminx Sun 03-Mar-13 23:53:57

I had it on my birth plan that if forceps were indicated, then to please proceed straight to c-section.

I know several friends who've had issues with healing after forceps delivery sad

I would honestly prefer to have abdominal surgery than giant BBQ tongs up my fanjo!

TheDetective Sun 03-Mar-13 23:55:42

I have had both. Emergency c/s after failed ventouse, and then a forceps for my second birth.

I'd chose neither. I've had shit recoveries from both.

Section - wound split open when staples were removed. This explained the excruciating pain I had been in. There was a haematoma behind the wound. Slowly the scar healed, after an infection. I think it took 3-4 months to totally heal. However it is still quite thick scar tissue in places where it was open. I also get discomfort from it at times. I also had a blood transfusion after delivery.

Forceps - that was 14 weeks ago, and I am not yet recovered. Significant problems with pain in the extended episiotomy (it extends to my arse cheek ffs) I had a haematoma there too. Pelvic floor pain. Issues with continence and bladder function too. I can't yet function normally. I am due to return to work in 8 weeks, and probably won't be able to at this rate of recovery.

I think, what I would do in future is to plan for a normal delivery, and if there was any inkling of things going the assisted delivery way, I would refuse consent and have a section.

I think. I'm not sure. But I'd get whatever it was I decided. I know that much.

It's difficult to choose, because you don't know what will happen with either birth. There are so many variables. I know I won't consent to ELCS or forceps though.

I guess what you need to do is to discuss it with your midwife/obstetric team and come up with a plan

Maybe I should just adpot. hmm

shinyblackgrape Mon 04-Mar-13 00:40:36

Forceps. I had a 40 hour labour and needed forceps at the end due to maternal exhaustion and DS' head not quite being in the right position.

I was terrified of having a forceps delivery as my sister had had a bad delivery with them. Therefore I pushed like mad in theatre and they only really needed to lift DS out.

I remember thinking and feeling during the pushing stage with DS that I was going to probably tear really badly so I'm relieved I had the forceps and an episiotomy. It was stitched beautifully in 15 minutes by the obstetrician and has healed very well. My overall recovery has been excellent. In fact, out of the 8 women in my NCT class - who had a mix of deliveries - I have recovered the best and am the only one who hasn't been referred to the physio or needs a repair op.

This is only anecdotal but all of the girls in my NCT class who have had tears have said they would demand an episiotomy for subsequent DC and also refuse to allow midwives to carry out the stitching due to both the lack of pain relief and the poor quality of the stitching (according to their GPs/consultants) 2 are already booked in for repair ops.

So, if you consent to forceps you may want to discuss episiotomy v tear with your midwife/consultant. I know the prevailing current view is that a tear is "better", more natural etc but the anecdotal evidence I have heard (from my very small nct group and DSis, admittedly) is that the tears seem to be at least third degree and don't heal as well.

In terms of a section, only one of the girls in my group had one. Her recovery has been very slow. However, I know someone who had an elective section and had a great recovery. There seems to be a big difference between an emergency and elective section in terms of recovery

I'm actually amazed to be writing this post as pre 13 week DS, I was terrified of a forceps delivery and would have chosen a section but in very glad I had the delivery I did. The other benefit is that - according to the obstetrician and midwives - any subsequent DC should come shooting out!

shinyblackgrape Mon 04-Mar-13 00:48:01

Ps - my understanding is that keillands forceps aren't used anymore. I put in my birth plan that I would not consent to their use and DH was absolutely assured by the midwives and the obstetrician that they wouldn't be used as they aren't in use anymore. Instead, you're given a section.

Don't want to worry you re my previous comment about subsequent babies whooshing out. I do not have a fanjo like a bucket! In fact, tmi alert DH has said he can't really feel,any difference and I'm sure he's not just being kind!

shinyblackgrape Mon 04-Mar-13 00:54:55

Sorry, final, final point. My DH was fully briefed on the fact that I was very worried about a forceps delivery. I was absolutely off my face with exhaustion and gas and air but Dh had a good chat with the obstetrician and was assured that really DS just needed a lift out and that was why they were advocating forceps over a section.

shinyblackgrape Mon 04-Mar-13 01:01:46

Also, DH was told that the consultant was only permitted three pulls and it was then a section.

Keillands (or high forceps) are used to rotate significantly and are obviously placed much higher up the birth canal. Both of these issues are therefore likely to cause more damage to mum and baby. The obstetrician explained to DH that as their use wasn't permitted (maybe just at our trust?) and there was the three pulls rule, the risks of damage were significantly reduced (not removed).

Interestingly, the obstetrician had been in a similar situation to me in labour and chosen a forceps delivery over a section. I was very surprised when DH told me that as I thought all obstetricians chose elective sections!

KatieMiddleton Mon 04-Mar-13 01:42:25

I had no kielland's on my notes last time. They still use them in some hospitals although they are banned in many.

I take an open mind to forceps vs CS because the medical need can be different and one will be better than the other in some scenarios.

Keillands were used in 2011 in the Kent hospital where my DC was born.

NoTimeForS Mon 04-Mar-13 08:36:47

Ask me in a few weeks. Had forecep delivery with DD. DH said I looked like I had been attacked by a shark and DD's face was awfully mangled (but healed soon). I have to say I recovered well. No lasting problems, no real pain afterwards.

I had an EMCS last night at quarter past midnight, haven't sat up yet...

TiredyCustards Mon 04-Mar-13 08:44:06

Cs is great, I've had 2 emcs but forceps just sound barbaric.

Recovery is fine with a toddler. Just make sure you have round the clock help from friends and relatives for the first few weeks, then avoid lifting them until you're 6 weeks post partum.

TiredyCustards Mon 04-Mar-13 08:56:27

Also - if you book in for an elcs you can always change your mind. If they have you down for a vb it may be difficult to get a cs re-granted.

ChocolateCoins Mon 04-Mar-13 09:13:28

I had a keilands forceps delivery and I was absolutely fine. They cut me and I was near enough recovered after about 3 weeks. I wouldn't hesitate to have the same birth again. Although can't comment on c section as I haven't had one.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 04-Mar-13 09:26:58

OP DD1 was 19 months when DD2 arrived by elcs. I asked and got lots of help at the beginning - DH took a couple of weeks off work for one thing, then my mum came for a few days. It was fine. By six months pregnant I started picking DD1 up less and less so she got used to the idea. It's tiring but the first week or two are the worst.

trustissues75 Mon 04-Mar-13 09:28:17

Peppa - sorry, did I upset you? Not my intention. I have done a lot of research on Kiellands forceps vs going straight for a C-section and the research I've read appears to point to much higher risks of long term issues to the mother and/or baby. From what I'm understanding they're used less and less because of these risks but then there's also the pressure now to reduce CS rates and when there's pressure on hospitals to produce desired numbers then maybe they're not putting patient wefare first?

PetiteRaleuse Mon 04-Mar-13 09:28:44

Congrats notime. i'm sure you're feeling like you've been hit by a truck right now but once you're walking later today you'll start ferling better.

trustissues75 - no no, not upset at all! smile I just found the information you gave interesting, but also frightening that these forceps are still being used in hospitals, given the associated risks. Although, i'm aware that most medical procedures come with risks, if there's an alternative to keillands then surely these should be used instead.
And for what it's worth, compared to some of the stories on here, then i was very lucky with my forceps delivery!

notime - Congratulations. I hope your recovery is speedy.

StrawberriesTasteLikeLipsDo Mon 04-Mar-13 09:40:36

I had both with DS2. ELCS but they still used forceps!! Wasnt impressed at all. Had a staph infection that time and scar took longer to settle, overall not a nice experience. EMCS with DS1 was lovely though and scar healed brilliantly!

NoTimeForS Mon 04-Mar-13 09:56:35

Thank you! I am just waiting (impatiently) now to go meet baby who is in NICU.

trustissues75 Mon 04-Mar-13 09:59:22

Peppa - maybe you had a very good consultant well trained in using them? Glad it turned out okay for you! I'm thinking of outright asking my MW if they are still used in Leicester hospitals but not sure I'd get a straight answer.

trustissues75 Mon 04-Mar-13 10:20:01

Congrats NoTime - hope you heal quick and baby is out of NICU pronto.

Feelingood Mon 04-Mar-13 10:30:48

Had two c sections

1st semi elective after overdue with undisgnosed breach, went back two days later, all calm and went smoothly.

2nd elective in notes from 8 weeks booking in appointment. This was due to issues related to first pregnancy and birth. I saw the specialists midwife for two counselling appointments.

I never ever experienced going into labour with either. Both procedures calm, timed, organised and very much planned for.

I had a cleaner booked for six weeks after birth and DH was great, I told him what I needed. I stocked fridge up with lush ready meals from M and S (one time only!).

MiaowTheCat Mon 04-Mar-13 10:43:37

I will be refusing to consent to forceps this time and pushing for them to go to a section if there's looking like the slightest inkling of them being on the horizon.

I got lucky last time - big huge tear and cut but recovered OK from it - I'm not going to take that risk again with a subsequent pregnancy so close in timescale to the previous one. However I just simply don't trust the hospital (same trust, different hospital) not to try the same bullying tactics they did last time to basically force me to a forceps consent - I had doctors yelling at me, and when I resisted - I got slapped with a social services referral to bring me back into line. I also don't want my legs in stirrups if I can avoid it because of severe SPD - having seen how last time they utterly ignored my pain-free gap when forceps got mentioned, and been left with long-term issues from that - I don't trust them for a repeat performance... so my current plan is to go in with that stance from the outset, written down clearly, and then at least it's all on record and if they try to bully me once more - I've got very clear cause to raise merry hell later.

Considering I had to go in last night for reduced movements and monitoring... really should get round to writing the actual birth preferences thing (pointless as fuck calling it a birth plan since the baby never reads it).

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Mar-13 10:58:05


It is a complete fabrication that CS has "high risk of adhesions and fibroids (affecting future fertility) and placenta acreta", especially in elCS which OP's will be, if she chooses to have one.

Nobody knows for sure what causes fibroids, and there is something called Adhesion Barrier thanks to which adhesions following elCS are quite uncommon these days. And placenta accreta would be "high risk" following a CS only if you have already had multiple CSs.

AmandinePoulain Mon 04-Mar-13 12:40:28

Whilst I'm very pro cs (see my earlier comments) I'm not sure I agree with you cote - I got pregnant with dd1 within a month of not being careful, not even 'trying' really - yet my next 2 pregnancies (1 mc, dd2) took 8 months each of active trying. This could of course be a complete coincidence but during my second cs the surgeon commented on the amount of adhesions I had - it took longer because of them. So whilst I don't regret either of my sections, I would say, in my case at least, that my fertility was affected.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Mar-13 12:59:03

I don't doubt your story but do consider that correlation is not causation - i.e. that you have taken longer to conceive the second time around doesn't necessarily mean that the reason was your CS.

I know several people who have tried in vain to conceive DC2 for years, and their DC1s were born vaginally, fwiw.

galwaygirl Mon 04-Mar-13 13:07:45

I haven't been able to read all the replies but got as far as someone saying that they would be refusing forceps apart from the lift out ones.
This was my plan, I had that all over my notes and was hysterical telling them they were going to kill my baby when they made me sign a consent for a trial of forceps or section. There is no option to just consent for section when you get to the stage where they are deciding between high/mid forceps and section. They used the forceps despite pretending they probably wouldn't.
I had complications including PPH, my episiotomy opening, which they don't restitch, and an episode of faecal incontinence which thankfully was a one-off.
My friend's baby needed 6 months physio after a forceps delivery and at meeting with consultant for number 2 they told her if she definitely won't consent to forceps then her ONLY option is planned section, basically admitting that you do not get a choice if things get that far. Which was also my experience.

galwaygirl Mon 04-Mar-13 13:18:47

Keillands are horrendous and still in use in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, despite the fact that a perfectly healthy baby was killed in 2009 in ERI by their use - her spinal cord was broken.
I had Haig-Ferguson forceps and they were not a walk in the park either.

NewRowSees Mon 04-Mar-13 13:23:17

I'm not sure if anyone's brought this up, but it's my understanding that you can end up having both...?

During my second section the surgeon had some trouble taking the baby out and called for forceps to help things along. Fortunately they weren't needed in the end.

Perhaps someone with more medical knowledge knows how common this is? But I'd imagine there's less risk of damage to the mother when the extraction is via the incision rather than the vagina.

AmandinePoulain Mon 04-Mar-13 14:18:46

Whether or not they caused me to take longer to conceive I don't know, but I certainly have adhesions, it is written in my medical notes and is the reason that my cs took longer than normal.

1944girl Mon 04-Mar-13 14:52:53


During my second c-section the surgeon had to use forceps to get my son's head out of my uterus as he was wedged in my pelvis.
I was only told this two days after the birth when I asked what had caused the red mark on the side of his face.The mark had faded by the time we went home 10 days later.(This was 1972, hence the long stay)

I was grateful for having a live baby though, which easily might not have happened.

I was delivered by forceps in 1944.The operator was my mother's GP,my mother said my head had to be bandaged as he had cut me while getting me out.I have no scars now and my mother had four normal deliveries after me.

My mother's cousin was delivered by forceps in 1920, by a GP.Her face was permantly disfigured and a face muscle damaged which caused her mouth to be drawn on the side of her face causing a speech defect.This poor lady never got married, she used to say ''What man wants to wake up in the morning and see my ugly mug''.Imagine the compensation she would get now.

mmmmsleep Mon 04-Mar-13 15:23:44

i'm day 4 post forceps delivery vbac...previous emergency cs. so far although i am very very sore swollen and bruised down below the recovery is still better than cs. on day 4 i still struggled to stand up post cs and just was much less able. saying that it was emergency cs not elective and i was exhausted after long labour. however i can't sit down at all or stand for more than few mins at moment.

at present i'm glad i went for vbac even though i ended up with forceps which had been my worst nightmare. i had a senior very skilled obs doing my forceps delivery. dd was bruised for 2d but looks fine now. i'm still bruised and open jury about pelvic floor but that was fairly shot anyway..

i will see how recovery goes to help me decide re delivery of future dc. so far would go vbac again.

FirstTimeForEverything Mon 04-Mar-13 15:40:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Xmasbaby11 Mon 04-Mar-13 15:45:36

Have a c section.

I had forceps (the large ones - DD was 9 15) and very long delivery with DD. I was in pain for couple of weeks after. Not to mention the trauma of delivery. I now have a a severely prolapsed uterus which will need surgery.

I haven't been guaranteed a c section next time, but I would have one if possible.

Kveta Mon 04-Mar-13 15:48:56

I've had forceps deliveries twice - second was Kiellands forceps last June.

I would opt for a c-section if I ever had a 3rd.

My poor mangled bits would choose c-section too.

Trazzletoes Mon 04-Mar-13 15:56:55

DS was born with rotational forceps - would they be Keillands? I had no idea at all of the risks... He was back to back and not coming out.

I had an epidural but turning him was still the worst pain I can remember.

It took a good 2 weeks to recover (obviously it needed an episiotomy) and I was in a lot of pain for that time. My stitches tore as well.

However, I'm not certain that a recovery from an emergency c-section would necessarily have been any easier.

In all honesty, I took the view that the Drs knew what they were doing and would do whatever necessary and whatever was best for me and DS to come out of there alive.

herethereandeverywhere Mon 04-Mar-13 16:41:53

A few things picked up from previous posters:

1. Putting "no forceps" on your notes. As another poster has already stated, you simply won't be allowed this choice in practice. I stated in my birth plan that in the event of needing an instrumental delivery I wanted to choose to go straight to CSection. I was effectively press-ganged into trail of forceps first. I was exhausted, very stressed and in massive pain as I'd let me epidural wear off to improve pushing <hollow laugh>. I was told the consultant thought he'd definitely get her out (he was right - but at what price?) so I reluctantly agreed.
2. References to "pushing really hard/pushing for your life" when threatened with forceps. If your baby is, like mine was, in a position such as deep transverse arrest they are stuck. They will never come out from pushing alone.
3. Requesting an episiotomy over tearing. Can't comment on the pros and cons of this but see upthread what happened to my episiotomy - not fun and not restitched.
4. Asking for an experienced consultant to do the episiotomy and stitching. Yep, that's exactly who did mine. Didn't help one iota.
5. Use of forceps AND csection. There are two distinct types of case where this happens and I think they are getting muddled (forgive me if I've misread this).
i) The first case is where a CS, ELCS or EMCS is being performed and the baby is stuck so can't be got out of the abdominal cavity. I could be wrong, but in this scenario I assumed that the forceps were used through the abdonimal inscision to get a grip on the stuck baby. I'm not sure whether the baby could be manouvered into a more favourable position via the vagina - perhaps someone else could answer this?
ii) The second case (what happened to me) is "trial of forceps" in theatre, where forceps are tried first and if the baby can't be got out that way then they move to CS. I was "lucky" that I didn't end up with the double whammy of forceps damage plus CS recovery but WISH TO GOD I'd fought harder for that csection.

herethereandeverywhere Mon 04-Mar-13 16:46:38

I wish I could agree with Trazzletoes that Drs knew what they were doing and would do whatever necessary and whatever was best for me and DS to come out of there alive.

There was NO GOOD REASON to risk my daughters and my health with Keillands forceps instead of a CS - other than to keep CS rates down (and IMO so that the consultant could show off his skills to the medical students I had foolishly permitted to watch).

Trazzletoes Mon 04-Mar-13 16:52:22

herethere sorry, I'm not saying my attitude was right. Just that it was the attitude I had. As I've said I had no idea of the risks associated with the forceps until today. And my DS is 3. And I did 2 childbirth courses!

herethereandeverywhere Mon 04-Mar-13 17:37:07

Sorry Trazzle I've just re-read what I wrote and it comes across as really aggressive thanks . My anger and aggression aren't directed at you at all (or anyone else on this thread!) I was trying to offer a contrast view for anyone who hasn't had a forceps delivery like we both had - I'm afraid my experiences have coloured my views!

My thinking was exactly the same as your before my first delivery. I'd prepared, read Marie Mongan and Juju Sundin, was fit and healthy, no history of birthing problems in my family and I trusted on of the top hospitals in the country.

MiaowTheCat Mon 04-Mar-13 17:39:01

Oh I'm under no illusions - if they want to get happy with the salad tongs - they're going to no matter what I say or do... but after the fucking bastards (only way to describe them and their behaviour) did what they did last time - this time if they do that and I've got my wishes in writing... I've got some comeback to say, "Look, is there any wonder I was resisting what you wanted to do to me - I've laid down in black and white here WHY I didn't want to take that course of action" - it's about 80% arse covering in my part (I'm terrified of being tagged as a resistant patient and sent back for another SS investigation if I don't let them do whatever they want) and 20% hope I'll get someone who actually gives a damn about maternal choice.

And I think that using forceps as some kind of threat to motivate women to push harder is utterly unacceptable behaviour in a civilised society - yet it's another example of how some medical bods view them as nothing more than an uncooperative bit of meat in the way of a nice interesting baby.

Trazzletoes Mon 04-Mar-13 17:55:43

Oh herethere I didn't take it as aggressive! Don't worry! I thought I just hadn't explained myself properly. thanks back at ya.

duchesse Mon 04-Mar-13 18:00:29

I'm under the impression that forceps are used in a CS to avoid making a very much bigger incision to allow surgeon's hand/s plus baby through. Plus the smaller incision simulates the physical benefits of a vaginal birth, squeezing the baby's lungs better and leading to fewer breathing difficulties. However, since the incision is held open by clamps and IS bigger than the birth canal, the forceps are much less potentially damaging, especially since there are no bones in the way and the risks of any awkward position are much lower. So in terms of risk to the baby, the risks for forceps in CS are minimal compared to vaginal ones. They are really used to ease the baby out. DD3 had forceps marks from her rather precipitous CS but they faded within a day and there was never any question of her being damaged by the forceps.

I personally feel that vaginal forceps belong in the 17th century. They may have saved lives in the days before surgery did a better job, but really why risk it now that we have much less dangerous medical birth options?

TheDetective Mon 04-Mar-13 20:02:47

Herethere I am one of the posters who said about no forceps.

I can assure you that you can say no, you just need to mean it, and be sure of yourself. I'm a midwife, and I damn well made sure I got my birth preferences. I went completely against everything that was in the policies and guidelines, including labouring in a pool (vbac) no continuous ctg, went to 40+20 etc. I was planning a homebirth, but due to reduced movements I decided to have an induction. It wasn't a standard induction either. I pretty much forced the hand of the consultant. Will never get a job there now!

I can assure you, no one will come near me with forceps ever again.

I've had a failed ventouse, complete with episiotomy before my section. I don't part with my babies well. hmm

TattyCatty Mon 04-Mar-13 20:23:46

The hell that is a forceps delivery is one of the reasons why my DD is an only child. She was yanked into the world following a long back to back labour, after a Registrar tried and failed to manually rotate her whilst still in the birth canal. I was told that ventouse / forceps were pretty much the only option, as she was so low down and that they would be preferable to baby being pushed back into position to facilitate a C section. I was moved to theatre and the Consultant (who apparently had not delivered a baby in years) first attempted to get her out by Ventouse. After 3 attempts, he declared that he "thought he could get baby out" by means of short forceps.

Yes, DD was delivered safely but she had awful bruising to her head and screamed blue murder every time anybody touched her, particularly when we attempted to get her to latch on. She was prescribed Calpol at a day old "to help her to feed" - you can only imagine how wrong that felt on every level. Thankfully, she recovered well and is now a healthy and happy 7 year old.

I, on the other hand, continued to feel the effects of those hideous instruments for years. I had a 3rd degree extended episiotomy (which is a euphemism for "we cut you, but you tore anyway"), which developed a haematoma, which subsequently became infected. I was in agony for around 4 weeks, with a lower level of discomfort that went on for years. Long story short, I ended up being re-stitched when DD started school.

I'm not brave enough to have any more children, but if I did, I'd be booking my C section from day 1.

TheDetective Mon 04-Mar-13 22:16:41

Years? Fuck. sad

I'm supposed to be back to work in 8 weeks. I keep getting fobbed off about my episiotomy. I've pushed for a second opinion, and have a clinic appt this week. Men wouldn't put up with this shit would they?!


Don't be fobbed off Detective, keep pestering for a specialist to see the scar if you are worried. Don't just rely on gp's opinion, I know mine just seemed to think that an open weeping sore was to be expected if you're daft enough to have gone and given birth. It took me weeks of making repeated appointments before she eventually referred me and the consultant immediately booked me for op and couldn't believe I'd been managing with it for so long. Straight away following the op I was totally pain free after months of agony.

The same consultant consented to giving me an elcs if I came to her in future. I would definitely not have dc2 if it hadn't been for that assurance. No way I could have even considered getting pg again otherwise.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 08:05:40

Herethere - you absolutely CAN say no!!! Unless you are sectioned under the mental health act they can't just do things to you - you're not a piece of meat! And as for insisting on a trial of forceps first when you were in deep transverse arrest just to keep CS rates down - completely appalling. there's plenty of research out there that is pretty clear that the risk of long term life changing injuries to mother and baby are much higher than in the case where a baby is still high up and is CSed out instead. I can just see them trying to press-gang you - further up thread one woman was threatened with a social services referral - the baby under law has no rights until it is born. Threatening social services to get consent is a blatant disregard for a person's human rights and those members of staff are very lucky the poster didn't take it further.

There is a landmark ECHR case that sets a precedent regarding a woman's rights during pregnancy and birth


Hopefully, for anyone who reads this, it may be of some help to them.

Here's the article I lifted that judgement from:


trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 08:10:30

Oh shoot...that was supposed to actually have been a post for galwaygirl not herethere - I was going between my reply and reading post and somehow spliced you both together!

Wincher Tue 05-Mar-13 08:23:11

Just to add a more positive story, my DS was delivered by Keillands forceps (trial of forceps before proceeding to C-section) with no problems at all, either for him or for me. My episiotomy was expertly stitched by the consultant and healed with no problems. I had had a very long and difficult labour but recovered fairly quickly. For purely vain reasons, I was quite glad to avoid the C-section 'pouch' of skin - my stomach got back to fairly flat within a year of birth.

I am now pregnant again and am heartened by people saying the second baby should just shoot out this time. Just as long as it's not back to back this time!

galwaygirl Tue 05-Mar-13 08:43:22

trustissues the whole fighting for your rights and saying no is a lot harder to do when you're 56 hours in, surrounded by a team of medical people pushing a form in your face and telling you they need to get the baby out ASAP and you have no option to sign section only. And you are completely worn down after being refused pain relief for 6 hours at one point before finally getting an epidural and spending 2.5 hours pushing.
What would you do in that situation? I was convinced I would be able to maintain my stance, the midwife was telling them I had said no forceps but they just ignored me and wore me down into signing.
I think the fact that a consultant told my friend (from ante-natal group, we are both pregnant again and seeing consultants about possible section) that she would have to have an ELCS to be sure of avoiding them speaks volumes about the reality of what happens when you're a regular joe soap with no medical training to argue back on the same level as them if you know what I mean? And the exhaustion didn't help.

Luckily I'll be delivering DC2 in Sweden where they don't use forceps! But I'm still terrified of a VB because of my first delivery.

prettybird Tue 05-Mar-13 08:56:40

I was desperate not to have a CS, so once I was falling asleep during contractions shock, I agreed to mid-cavity forceps.

I was given a puddendal block which I was warned "might work, might not". Fortunately, in my case it did. I was given a episiotomy but still tore a little bit.

I was stitched up really well, ds was fine (he had a tiny mark on his forehead which soon disappeared) and I was mobile straight away.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:00:43

galwaygirl - please don't misunderstand me - I do already have one child and have been on the receiving end of bullying - what you describe sounds more towards Guantanamo Bay tactics (we're you refused food too?) You can't always fight for your rights in the moment and I'm really sorry you were treated in such an appalling fashion - but nothing will change if no-one does anything. Forced consent is not consent - have you thought about reporting the hospital and staff?

I'm not surprised you're terrified - I think I would be - and leaving a woman traumatised by the way she has been treated just so the medical staff can do what they want to do is not acceptable.

duchesse Tue 05-Mar-13 09:25:14

This was what I was told re CS:

Driving: You aren't covered by your insurance to drive within 72 hours of a general anaesthetic (which is what I had). So it's actually only illegal to drive within 5 days. I moaned at my GP about 3 weeks (large rural parish) after my CS saying I was going stir-crazy, and he said once you are on the mend, can manage to look right over both shoulders (checking blind spots), can fully depress the brake and other pedals, and can wear the seat belt, there is no earthly reason for not going back to driving, but to check with one's insurer first. I think the 6 weeks no driving thing is an urban myth.

Lifting: I was told no lifting anything heavier than than the baby for a week to ten days. Very luckily my incision healed extremely well so I was pretty much fighting fit again with a month (certainly back to driving).

I think the advice given is actually good advice- it helps you recover faster. There's no sense in doing anything too early that jeopardises your recovery. And certainly no brownie points in being up and about earlier than the next person. I spent DH's fortnight paternity leave in bed with the baby and it was great!

TBH I think I recovered faster from the crash CS with DD3 than I did from the birth of DD2, a beautifully straightforward 4 hour home labour, but I also had 2 other very young children to look after, before the days of paternity leave longer than 2 days, and neither of our mothers was available to help, so I was back to normal duties after 3 days. I ended up with mastitis after 4 weeks which I'd never had before and I put down to exhaustion.

MiaowTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 10:22:02

Considering I've been unable to drive since about late-32 weeks anyway from SPD (I can't move my legs across pedals comfortably it's so bloody bad now) - I'd take 5 days not being allowed to drive in a heartbeat... AM CLIMBING THE WALLS NOW!!!

CoteDAzur Tue 05-Mar-13 10:33:24

I'm reading here how incapacitated some people were after their CSs and thinking there must be a difference (in damage control) between ElCS and EmCS.

Mine was elective. I had it in the morning, and by that afternoon, I was made to get up (with help) and walk to the toilet & back. On day 2, it was painful but easily managed with a couple of pills. On day 3 I was fine - picking up baby DS from his cot, sitting down and breastfeeding him, putting him back in his cot, etc. I didn't even need paracetamol from that point on. And I was driving on day 10.

Comparing this to DD's vaginal birth with episiotomy: I was crying with incredible pain every day, unable to get out of bed, unable to sit, unable to walk, unable to breastfeed in any other position than standing up. Real torture level of pain for weeks on end. DD was 3 weeks old when I felt well enough to get up and learn to change her nappy sad

If you are going to have a huge cut with many stitches, it is far more preferable to have it on your tummy where you can see & clean it, where it is not constantly peed & pooed on, and also so you can sit ffs. If given the choice, choose to have your delicate lady bits not mutilated.

MiaowTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 10:33:58

Trustissues thank you so much for posting that Guardian link... I had the social services thing done to me over the last birth - people still think I'm some kind of liar when I tell them it happened, but I keep finding more and more quiet little voices (because of the stigma, and the fact you just feel like the worst mother in the world for basically putting the child you're giving birth to at risk of being taken off you in order to exert some control over your birth) that are piping up and saying, "Well, I don't talk about it - but they did exactly the same thing to me."

While the investigation was closed with "no case to answer" - I had days of hell on a post-natal ward (also from hell), having phonecalls and interviews to prove my worthiness as a parent for a child that I'd not actually GOT to parent yet - because she was still two floors down in NICU. And it ruined my life - the flag that we're "a family known to SS" remains on all our files permanently, and I live in fear now we're at the crawling/cruising stage of the childhood bumps and scrapes and someone querying them in the light of that warning flag. I have nightmares at least 3-4 times a week of them coming to take her away from me - and the saddest bit is, I'm having to view this birth as something I "take" as silently as possible, consenting to everything they want to do (although I'm writing my wishes down I expect them to be ignored) - for fear of both this new baby, and my beautiful, thriving eldest daughter being removed from us if I say or do ANYTHING that irks them giving them grounds to go running back to social services.

My "crime" - I got scared when they were shouting at me and bullying me to consent to forceps, and I wanted them to note my pain-free gap with my SPD so I didn't end up with permanent damage (they pretended to note it, ignored it completely and wrecked my hips yanking my knees up around my ears - they didn't even go THAT fricken high when I did gymnastics three times a bloody week)... that's literally ALL I did - and why I guess I've fixated a bit on the forceps issue this time around to try to head it off at the pass so to speak.

But people don't believe it's happening - look at me like I'm mad when I mention it (or tell me that they believe me cos it happened to a friend of theirs)... so thank you for the article in a loooong rambling way.

I'm too scared to complain btw - can't rock the boat having seen how relentlessly they'll behave to browbeat women into giving into whatever they want to do. I also firmly believe if they hadn't of had me physically held down and pinned to the bed - the issues requiring forceps wouldn't have occurred anyway - when they got me vertical for a spinal block to do the forceps (the choice I'd been given was spinal+forceps or forceps+hideous pain - nice!) she started moving again and would have delivered of her own accord - but I think it was a mark of pride by then that they got to do what they wanted to me. I've been raped in the past - and it was utterly the same feeling of total violation and powerlessness.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:41:37

Miaow - I am completely speechless right now. \I seriously just don't know what to say. Have you considered just telling your story to a good law firm specialising in medical negligence? And as for you being a family "known" to the ss for life?! Is that even legal? |I had the ss called out on me for cancelling all my son's medical check ups when the Dr's assistant told me to just put him in day care as a solution to the problem of him obviously screaming near constantly in pain. It's awful, but my case was closed after 6 months and the ss couldn't believe how ridiculous the Dr had been and even gave me help in finding a decent Dr. Its an awful thing to go through - but the fact that you were put through that for a choice you were trying to make for a child that hadn't' been born yet is beyond wrong - the child has no legal rights until they are born.

I believe you, BTW...I believe you wholeheartedly.

RedToothBrush Tue 05-Mar-13 10:44:37

trustissues, I've tried clicking on the ECHR case you linked to, but it doesn't seem to work. What does that relate to as I'm interested to read. The other guardian link was very interesting. I hadn't realised that there had been a case in the UK where someone had successfully challenged staff over forced consent.

RedToothBrush Tue 05-Mar-13 10:48:19

Miaow, my heart goes out to you. I believe you entirely.

MiaowTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 10:59:39

I think it's more common than people know about (there's still this mentality that if SS get called on you "you must have been up to something to justify it" - see AIBU on a weekly basis for that sometimes!) - when I've spoken openly(ish - hubby's family still don't know, mine only really know because they have some connections making the hospital more likely to behave this time) about it, so many people know someone else it's happened to... I just dismissed it as one of our local hospitals being a bad apple - but it looks like it's more widespread than that.

It's gone indirectly up to the head of midwifery when I spoke with the birth-trauma MW at the partner hospital in the NHS trust over this coming birth and she was horrified by what had gone on - but it's not a fight I'm strong enough to take on really... especially since they've also done stuff like buried the entirety of the referral details in DD's notes to make it harder for me to get at and the like. Taken me most of the last year to just come to terms with it - the feeling of guilt that, in essence you being a bit picky (although with the brutality of them and the damage they can cause I don't think that that's the right mentality to have over forceps) put your child at risk of being taken is an absolutely crippling guilt to live with - I remember vividly having to ring hubby (they waited till the second he'd gone home to call me in for a 90 minute interview) and tell him that MY behaviour had got SS called in on the child we'd fought for 6 years to have - it was horrific. Thankfully he backed me all the way - but it was utterly awful.

I think the taboo around SS generally, plus the fact that people can be utterly intolerant of birth horror stories (if I tell anything of mine it's usually the amusing/farcical stuff like MIL wandering in mid-push... stuff like that) - means a lot of stuff like this gets unreported.

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