Thoughts on forceps(100 Posts)
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"!
I've had 2 forceps deliveries and no issues here.
Try hypno birthing and have a home birth. Forceps not part of the equation then.
I hated the idea of forceps with a passion.
The trouble is, by the time anyone suggests that using them is necessary, it's is often the only option - the baby is too far down for a CS. Of course you can refuse any intervention - but if the baby was nearly out and a bit stuck - what else can you do.
I would focus on doing what you can to reduce the risk of needing them - eg looking at options for keeping mobile in labour, consider whether an epidural might hinder the labour, etc.
Thank you ladies. I doubt I would be allowed a home birth due to pre existing health issues, but I'm ok with that. I'm just anxious about every stage of the pregnancy I think!
I would educate yourself on what forceps are and what they do.
I would refuse high forceps to turn a baby which hasn't descended because I would prefer a CS and at that point it's still possible. If the baby has descended past the cervix and needs rotating or guiding out because pushing isn't effective and you've tried changing position then that's what's needed. Sometimes ventouse just isn't practical even if on the surface it seems preferable.
Also had 2 forceps births, both times as baby was distressed and already too far down for cs. Wasn't the lovely, calm birth I was hoping for but wasn't as bad as you anticipate...the priority is for baby to be born healthy, and without forceps that wouldn't have been the case for my two. Stitches were pretty uncomfortable but other than that all was and is fine. Neither DC had noticeable bruising either.
I have to be honest and say I had a horrible forceps delivery.
I should say, I wasn't asked to consent either.
The ventouse failed and the obstetrician just grabbed the forceps and delivered the baby without saying a word.
Sometimes that's how birth goes, I'm afraid. But I don't know anyone else who has had a similar experience so it's probably fairly rare.
Difficult one. I'd put in my birth plan that I'd refuse forceps, and was told I wouldn't be given an option if that was necessary
Posted too soon! So I thanked the obs for his honesty and said that I'd be equally honest that in such a case I would sue and we could let the court decide. V bootfaced obs thereafter. The reason I wouldn't want them is a the risk of brain injury to the baby, so this often repeated mantra of doing what's best or the baby cuts little ice with me. It's not a zero sum game with maternal health on one side versus baby's health on the other but women who argue about forceps are presented as privileging a birth experience over their child's welfare in the tabloid press. For what it's worth had forceps been necessary I would have consented but I wanted the staff to be aware that it was not going to be an easy option. For what it's further worth, if someone had performed a procedure without my concept i would absolutely have sued on general principles.
Having a CS doesn't necessarily rule out the need for forceps. Forceps were still used at my first c-section as ds was lodged in my pelvis. A midwife friend said it's quite common.
I felt the same and really, really didn't want them for my hospital birth. The doctors started mumbling about intervention two hours into the pushing stage. More hospital protocol than what I needed or wanted.
Pushed him out with no tearing or cutting after another hour, no stitches required.
Had a great birthing partner who knew to check in with me that I was still happy to push, as the baby was ok. I think this is what made the difference. Made a huge difference to my subsequent births I'm sure.
My DD was born by forceps. And thank god for them because they got her out so fast they were able to resuscitate her. So they were lifesaving.
She was left with a bloodshot eye. A bruise. And a line down her face -that looked like a German duelling mark. All that faded after a few days. 7 months later the only clue left is a tiny scar on her brow.
I'm so grateful to the team at kings who used those forceps with such speed and professionalism.
I really appreciate the feedback on such a tender topic, but as for mystics post I would really hate for anything to be done without telling me first. Must have been scary
My mw advised me that the dr will use forceps or ventouse, what ever they are most comfortable or experienced with. I wouldn't like to say no to anything with labour.
I needed emergency forceps in the end but I got my ds out safe and quick. If I said no that might have not been the case. If they weren't safe they wouldn't be used.
Ds had a tiny red mark that was gone the next day
At the point where they told me they were going to take me into theatre for a forceps delivery I insisted on a c-section.
I didnt realise that using forceps was now done in theatre, back in the early 90's it was bog standered and done in the room you were already in.
My first was forceps after a failed suction hose and tbh when they finally managed to get her out the relief was wonderful.nobody asked my consent for anything but they did tell me what was going on.
The main thing I remember is the name of the forceps was written on the top of the baby details card on the crib now her dad just so happens to have as a surname one of the names in the forceps actual title so of course I thought they had called my dd Neville and was distraught about this.
She had bruses all over her head but more due to the hose but 2 bruse lines from the forceps.
Sockreturning - my forceps delivery was done in the delivery room I was labouring in, no anaesthetic. They just removed the end of the bed, stuck my legs in stirrups and off they went.
THat was 2008.
I had a forceps.delivery with DC1. Always wonder if it would have been necessary if they had let me get off my back at some point....
I found I had a very long recovery period from them (though had full spinal block at the time so didnt feel a thing as it was happening), I don't think this is fully appreciated by many people unless it's happened to you. Walking, even sitting up to pick my baby up was incredibly painful for days afterwards and it was only months later I realised how difficult even getting off the sofa had been - I had been berating myself for being lazy when actually, my pelvic floor was knackered.
Had a truly appalling incident on the stairs at home in the first week when the lethal combination of a loose bowel due to antibiotics and a bruised pelvic floor that was no good to man nor beast clashed.
Thankfully I did recover fully and was on the swings jn the park with DC1 only days after having DC2 (no interventions) -could not believe how amazing I felt. People are aware of the recovery needed after a c-sectionbut it's not something I ever see considered about forceps.
Meant to make the point that it can take up to a year in my case to fully recover from forceps - just reread my post and didn't think I had actually made that point very well.
I almost put no forceps in my plan but am so glad I didn't - they were what got DS out when he got stuck (was too low for CS) and he was delivered safety with no real side effects for either of us.
I had in my birth plan that I would rather have ventouse over forceps and I was to be consulted before anything was used.
In the actual event, my birth went really wrong and my DS was in distress so they called the crash team, cut me and used forceps to save his life. I had no pain relief (not even gas and air goddam it!!) and gave no consent, and at the time it was horrific. Now though I am just so grateful he was born safe and healthy.
It was traumatic, but in an emergency situation, I would have them make the same decision again.
Dd was as forceps delivery. It was necessary, quick and with no problem.
Ok, I will be honest.
My mum had a forceps delivery with me, had a 3rd degree tear and told me that physically she never felt the same afterwards. During the hospital-run antenatal classes I attended before delivery they showed us a pair of forceps and I swore then on sight of those that I would never let those things anywhere near me.
DD was an induced birth, it turned out that she was transverse but that wasn't known during the labour. I was 10cm dliated and labouring for about 16 hours. The midwife was muttering about forceps at one point and I absolutely lost it. I was told that if my baby was at risk then they would proceed without my consent. They prepped the instrument trolley and then I was examined again and the decision was made for a C-section. I did sob with relief at that point as I was so desperate for it to end without forceps.
I had heavy meconium in my waters so we went off for monitoring, where it was discovered ds's heart rate was dropping with every contraction. Thankfully at this point I went from 6-10 cms in minutes and was involuntarily pushing.
The dr (and about 6 other people) arrived and said the baby needed to come out immediately, and instruments would be necessary. I made me feelings known about how I felt about forceps (very wary, thanks to a friend having a terrible recovery). The ventouse worked and DS was out with 3 or 4 pushes. He had a big bruise on his head and was cone shaped for about a week, and the bruising seemed to have something to do with jaundice.
It wasn't the birth I'd wanted, but it wasn't horrible. DS looked like any other baby soon after, and my recovery was fine.
I had a forceps delivery, and to be honest I never gave consent I was just told that was what was happening.
In a way I'm glad I had them because it got dd out safely and meant that had a vb, but the recovery was hell if I'm honest. They cut me, so I had a lot of stiches, the forceps bruised me and cut me inside, I was so swollen, its taken a good 12 weeks for me to feel "normal" again in that area.
What's interesting is I read a lot of posts where people have said it was in their birth plan to not have forceps, but they ended up with them. I'm more inclined to think now that drs/midwives disregard the birth plan if someone has put no forceps and go ahead anyway.
Don't you just need to have a healthy baby no matter how it is delivered? I never gave this a second thought. I am sure I am older than everyone posting here but honestly, you just have to get on with it and trust the people around you. Lets face it, they are all more experienced than you. It is not about preconceived ideas, it is about what needs to happen for the baby.
bumpy I do think a blanket 'no forceps' is more likely to be disregarded than a well-reasoned, structured consideration of the different possibilities including forceps.
It's rare that there is really no time for a doctor to read 3/4 lines of text which will communicate far more clearly than certainly I could in labour and then they're more likely to be open to discussing the options.
If they're taking you to theatre to use forceps it's likely that a CS is still an option. They wouldn't be moving you if baby was practically out.
I had an attempted forceps delivery with DS1 with no pain relief They still couldn't shift him and he was in distress already. Ended up in a general anaesthetic c section and a post partum haemorrhage. DS spent a bit of time in special care and was a bit battered and bruised to say the least. He had a caput from an attempted ventouse, and the bruise marks from the forceps down the side of his face. He also had jaundice and he scratched his face so badly within minutes of being born you can still see the scars now 15yrs later! I still thought he was the most beautiful baby ever though.
I didn't consent to the forceps but I was just happy he was born alive. He had the clips on his head throughout labour and I could hear his heartbeat failing to return after each contraction. If I had been handed a sharp knife at that point I would have got him out myself. No ongoing problems from the attempted forceps - this was in 1999
"Don't you just need to have a healthy baby no matter how it is delivered?"
No, you don't just need that. Aiming for that, and that alone, sets a low expectation and contributes to a culture of ignoring labouring mother's needs.
Obviously we want to deliver our babies safely - but a little bit of pain relief when needed, or a bit of communication as to what's going on isn't too much to ask in the majority of cases.
I don't want anyone to think the safety of my child wouldn't be paramount. I know in certain circumstances it can't be helped, such as too far down. I just wonder if there are other options, should they not be taken. I dunno, I know my knowledge of it is limited so I think I need to do more research!
It really depends what you think those other options are for you. Some people will do anything to avoid a CS so between high forceps and a CS they'd take the forceps. Some people will trust their judgement of how labour is progressing and the evidence on the monitor over an arbitrary policy which says you can push for an hour max. There are ways for you to express your preferences and you should definitely be considering what those are an uncovering why, but at the same time try to write an informed birth plan rather than believing that forceps are terrifying or unsafe and just ruling them out.
If it comes to it and the doctor says they need to use for eps you can ask why and when you've heard their reasons suggest alternatives, which they may then consider or explain why it's no longer an option.
It is a balance between respecting their knowledge and professionalism and retaining control over your body by giving informed consent. Educating yourself ahead of time will save time when it comes to it and you aren't necessarily in a position to follow complex explanations.
I have noticed that all the women I know who had a homebirth did not have either a forceps or ventouse delivery.
I would suggest that there really is no point in putting "no forceps" on a birth plan - your wishes would probably be ignored.
I had an attempted forceps with ds1 who was high up and not descending at all. I wasn't asked for consent or even told what she was doing. I can still visualise the forceps in her hands and me, having seen them, saying "what, are you using forceps?" and she said "I'll tell you later". To be fair she did give me local anaesthetic first but I was petrified as suddenly the rom was full, the consultant in her white wellies and I wasn't being told what was going on. I can honestly say it was horrible, and afterwards I was told I'd been as stretched as anyone despite not actually having given birth vaginally.
The forceps failed so I ended with a c section under general as there was no time for a spinal. Ds1 ended up with a few cuts to the face and was I understand delivered using forceps during the section (but obviously was knocked out so didn't see it).
Ds2 was a planned section and forceps were also used to get him out as he was tricky to get out.
Ds1 has cranial osteopathy as he was a grumpy baby and the cranial osteopath said his skull was quite misaligned due to the birth. Other than being grumpy and having a few cuts there were no other effects.
Ds2 just had a cut to the side of his head but no other effects but then he hadn't been through a long labour first either.
"I have noticed that all the women I know who had a homebirth did not have either a forceps or ventouse delivery"
That's because you have to be transferred to hospital if you need an assisted delivery. Community midwives don't perform assisted deliveries in the home.
This is from my birth plan (I'm 28 weeks):
'Forceps not to be used unless there is no other option - emergency c section strongly preferred in anything other than 'lift out'/low/outlet circumstances'
I have a friend who is 100% 'no forceps' which I think is a litte unrealistic. I've done my research and if the baby is well descended forceps can be the only way and do minimal damage to mum and baby.
I would not consent to high rotational forceps (too risky all round) or probably even mid, as I would prefer a c section and that should still be a good option with the baby in a higher position. I want a healthy baby but I also want my wishes known, so unless there is absolutely no alternative, then they know a c section is my preference.
I'd rather have a knackered stomach than a trashed vagina!
Once forceps are on the cards you tend to have 2 choices: forceps or a very damaged / dead baby. Maybe if you're lucky a CS might be an option. When the CS is not appropriate, I know what I'd go for. I've had 2 CS's, both unrelated to the reasons forceps are normally used. Though both babies did need forceps deliveries. Obviously my pelvic floor was not involved, but there was not a mark on either baby. In my original birth plan I'd written "whatever intervention required to keep me and baby safe. Ideally with as much pain relief as I demand". My mum had high forceps with me (1977). She needed some repairs, but both my brothers (1980 & 1992) were very straight forward deliveries.
Forceps are banned in some countries aren't they? So "no forceps" can't be an entirely unrealistic option.
DS1 was forceps delivery. it was a traumatic birth and I had to have an episiotomy which took months to heal.
he was stuck in the birth canal, so C-section wasn't an option and he wasn't far down enough for ventouse.
there was no other option, but use forceps. it worked fine.
he had a little mark on his cheek from forceps and a bloodshot bruise on his head where he was stuck, so he head a cranial osteopathy session at 3 weeks to check him over.
the osteopath reassured me that he was perfect, no damage whatsoever, the doctor (or whoever?) did a very good job.
I went onto have 5 more kids and although my 4th ELSC due to being breech all the others were normal vaginal deliveries.
my 4th *was ELSC
btw congratulations on your pregnancy!
hettienne where are forceps banned? <curious>
Penelope apparently most hospitals in the US won't use them, they use the ventuse (sp?!) instead
There are different types of forceps so maybe you need to do some research around that. I think keillands are the high position twist forceps which can be tricky.
Sometimes there just isn't a choice. And as for the pp who said they'd sue on principle if not asked about it first, what would you do if they delayed to talk you through it and your baby was injured as a result?
It's all very well saying expectations should be higher, but ultimately childbirth is not pleasant (unless you're one of the lucky few) and interventions save the lives of mothers and babies every year.
My mantra is this: you're going to have a baby, not a birth experience.
I had on my birth plan I wanted the option to go straight to CS if an instrumental delivery was being considered.
I was effectively press-ganged into having forceps. They told me ventouse was not possible due to swelling on the baby's head (I suspect this wasn't true - her position meant that the ventouse wouldn't have attached as it would have been on the side of her face).
I didn't know then that there are different types of forceps (no-one told me, I'd never read it anywhere).
I was taken to theatre for a Keillands forceps delivery. She was in deep transverse arrest, had not descended the birth canal and WAS NOT IN DISTRESS OR SHOWING ANY SIGNS of it. I'd just reached the end of the time they were allowing me to try to push out a baby they knew was malpositioned. I was the perfect candidate for a CS, had my request been heeded.
DD was born with horrendous bruising and a cut to her face. She still is and always will be scarred by her eye. The trauma of birth left her too sleepy to feed and 3 days later she was in the children's hospital being fed formula via a tube up her nose.
I'd had a massive episiotomy. The stitches all came undone so was left with an open wound which took 2 months to heal. The pain was horrific and unrelenting for at least the first month, then manageable with paracetamol for the second. I suffered bouts of faecal incontinence but my bladder on the other hand was numb so I had to re-learn weeing.
The day after the delivery a midwife introduced the consultant who performed the procedure as "the man who keeps our CS rates down". It is this statement which means I could never again take the advice that "you need to trust the medical staff around you as they know what's best for baby/you" or words to that effect. Actually there is often a hidden agenda. The money to repair my body and mind and any compensation for damage to DD will not come from the same budget as the one the man who wielded the forceps is responsible for.
I'd genuinely rather be shot than go through that again. I had an ELCS for my second delivery which was a walk in the park for both me and my baby by comparison.
Oh, in terms of understanding the reasons for medical staff suggesting forceps and weighing up options etc before consenting do bear in mind you may well be in the most excruciating pain of your whole life at the time you're required to make that decision. So research and planning ahead - such as the OP is doing here, is a good idea.
Both of my two born by EMCS.
DS2 had to have forceps applied to his head to get him out though as he was wedged deep inside my pelvis.He had a red mark down one side of his face which faded after a week.
I don't know about injuries caused by forceps today, but I was born by forceps in 1944 and the GP who delivered me pulled so hard he cut my head and my mother said I had a bandage round it for a week.
My mother's cousin, born in 1920, was delivered by forceps at home, also by a GP. She suffered a permanent facial injury caused by her birth which left her disfigured for the rest of her life.The poor soul never married, because she said ''What man wants to look at my ugly mug every day''.She was a very nice person who eventually managed to train as a nurse despite her obvious disfigurement(sp).
In days gone by forceps were used when now the birth would be a ceasarian.They were called high forceps and caused alot of the above mentioned injuries, also to the mother.I did midwifery training in the late '60s and remember alot of horrible injuries caused to mother and baby because of forceps.They can be life saving which was why they were used. Ceasarian sections were rarely performed in comparision to today.All CS required a GA and the longitudinal incision which is what I had.While I would not wish that on anybody it is the reason why myself and my two sons are here today.
I tried to have a homebirth but DS got stuck. I transferred in where the ventouse failed twice. By that point I had no choice but to have a forceps as DS was too far down for a CS.
I and DS would have died without a forceps delivery.
He was left with a bruisemto the side of his face, a blood blister on his lip and jaundice. I was left with a huge scar (luckily healed well and quickly) and some loss of sensation down there.
Still glad they did it though!
Due tomorrow with DC2 and trying for a homebirth again!
My story almost the same as LadyFlumpalot!
Yes, I was aiming for home birth but dc got stuck and forceps were, imho, the good solution. Ventouse failed, am tempted to say waste of time but presumably works sometimes!
We were both safe and healed up. It did take me a while to heal from fairly major episiotomy cut but I can see it was needed and am absolutely fine now.
Aiming for home birth again in next month, but will write a birth plan that says I rule nothing out if considered sensible at the time. I will stay at home as long as poss and hopefully all the way but believe doctors/midwives do their honest best in often difficult circumstances. (Not to say they never get the judgement wrong, just that I do too sometimes!)
Forceps can cause a lot of damage to both baby and mum. I had a forceps delivery almost 2 years ago. In my birth plan I said I had a preference to have ventouse rather than forceps if it was necessary. The consultant listened to my request - which by that stage my DH had to say for me. He explained that with ventouse they only attempt it 3 times max as it can cause damage to baby - I think its something to do with the suction pressure on baby's head. Ventouse was attempted but baby was too high and I needed mid cavity forceps, although at the time they just said forceps and did not state what kind. I also had a very generous episiotomy and ended up with a 4th degree tear. My recovery back to my 'new' normal took about a year and was extremely painful and difficult. I'm left with a prolapse and will be having perennial refashion surgery (fixing the scar tissue and original stitching) next year - currently pregnant with DC2 so waiting until after this one has arrived by ELCS.
We also had shoulder dystocia (head is out but shoulders are stuck behind pubic bone) and I will never know if the severity of my tear was due to the forceps or the manoeuvring to get my DS out.
My DS was left with 3 neck vertebrae out of line, which the health visitors, GP and midwives I saw in the weeks after the birth didn't pick up on. I trusted my instinct and took him to see a chiropractor (who specialises in baby and children) when he was about 11 weeks old and this has been corrected. DS also had a very badly bruised ear and struggled to feed for the first few days.
A friend of mine had a ventouse delivery with her DD and the suction cup actually tore the skin on her DD's forehead and she is left with a scar, which was very noticeable until her hair grew long enough to cover it.
I had a forceps delivery just over 6 weeks ago, my Dd was too low for a section and i was becoming unwell due to sickness and dehydration, i had a failed epidural which meant they gave me a full spinal, after 28 hrs of active labour and 2 days of slow labour not to be in pain or uncomfortable was wonderful.
My DD was born with 2 marks
On either side of her head and was a bit bruised on her head, but she is fine now. My recovery has been good too, i had a lot 2 pints of blood loss as the placenta had to be manually delivered and am on iron tablets, which has meant i am now formula feeding
This wasnt the birth experience i wanted and was asking for a section, but it was explained to me why forecps should be tried and seeing other mums on the post natel ward following a section im really glad i had the delivery i did and would do it all again if necessary
I know everyone is different, but ultimatly my birth plan was me and baby both safe and well and thats what we acheived
I've put on my birth plan - in bold and underlined - "NO FORCEPS". My best friend is a midwife in the country I'm originally from (Western Europe). I asked her opinion on forceps as I too was worried about them. She told me they don't use them anymore over there. Birth death rates are no higher (in fact lower) than in the UK - both for mother and baby.
I don't understand why they still use them in the UK if there's obviously other ways to get the baby out. A cynical part of me thinks it has to do with costs - you get a lot more scans where I'm from and if it becomes clear vaginal birth would be very difficult due to the size of the baby v pelvis, you get a caesarean. I'd much rather have a planned c-section (from which you recover quite easily) than a go through one of the horror stories you read on here re things going wrong in a forceps delivery (word often used is being "butchered").
Also re slow deliveries - in my home country they don't let you go over 24hr once your waters have broken (unless it's pre 37 weeks and then you're constantly monitored). They'd do a c-section rather than you being in pain and exhausted after hours and hours of labour.
I do rate the NHS but I'm afraid I very much disagree with certain aspects of it.
Just to add - they do use vacuum where I'm from - as not as damaging to the mother nor baby. I've also put on my birth plan that I'm absolutely fine with that.
But what do MWs/OBs in your country do if baby has descended too far and vacuum won't attach, MissHC? Or vacuum fails? Pull baby back up through the pelvis for a CS? What if you want to try a VB and they think your pelvis is too small? Or you want to continue trying after 24hours?
It sounds like a very prescriptive birthing culture which I guess is fine if you're used to it but it wouldn't (didn't) suit me.
NomDeClavier - I'm not a midwife so I don't know. I think they wouldn't let it get that far. You might think it's prescriptive but I don't know of anyone there with pelvic floor / incontinence issues after giving birth, whereas I know a few here in the UK.
Yes it's prescriptive in that they wouldn't let you try for more than 24 hours because of the much increased risk to the baby. Just to add - you also always give birth with a gynaecologist present and your antenatal care is done by a gynaecologist - for everyone, also low risk pregnancies. You can do water births etc and gynaes don't push for epidurals etc - a lot of people have a natural birth without pain relief. It's not like the US where it's massively medicalised.
And re gynaecologists - you choose your own gynae. You register at their practice, go to antenatal appointments there and they are called in for the birth (even if it's the middle of the night). If he/she's on holiday you will know the person who covers for them beforehand.
Because it's done that way you can choose a gynae who you feel most comfortable with and who you feel will support your choices.
It's more like going private here, only that you pay very little (about €100-150 depending on your insurer - you're obliged to have one but you can choose whichever one you want and yearly cost is about €30).
To be fair I don't know anyone with pelvic floor issues in France and they still use forceps. They do subsidise 6 sessions of physio after the birth though which helps.
I guess the entire system is built around you having a personal relationship with your ob/gyn who then actually knows you and can provide better care, similar to indy or one-one midwifed in the UK, and that kind of care has statistically better outcomes like a higher rate of non-instrumental deliveries anyway.
What I find particularly scary in the UK is that there's no requirement for there to be a consultant there, so a fairly junior doctor could be using forceps and while when used properly low or lift out forceps are perfectly safe you don't have a guarantee, especially at night, that the person using them will be experienced. That said if it came down to a choice between 'we can get the baby out using forceps' and 'we can't do anything' I'd rather have the possibility of forceps.
No I see your point. I totally agree that IF forceps it used, it should only be used by an experienced consultant.
I think I'll probably still agree with forceps if there really is no other way to get the baby out, but by putting it in bold on my birth plan I hope to at least get the message across to them that I'm REALLY not keen on it (also for the reason you mentioned re consultant)
I ended up with a forceps assisted delivery with full epidural after it became clear that my (earlier epidural) pushing was not going to get baby out quick enough. As she had shown signs of distress during contractions it was the best solution for me. My only real request throughout the labour had been to avoid a c-section, which the mw, registrars & anaesthetist respected. I had an episiotomy and my pelvic floor is slowly recovering with regular exercise. The only really annoying side effect has been issues with my bowel movements & flatulence which I have read will improve, again with exercise & time.
I'm nearly 8 weeks post birth and my lo has had no visible side effects from the forceps (only very mild bruising for a day or so after), and is a very happy alert baby. She had maximum apgar scores too, so all well on that front.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck!
I made it clear in my birth plan that I would not consent to forceps. I said that should there be any signs during labour that I might later need them that I should be transferred for a c/section.
I also stated that on no account should anyone ever touch me after my blood pressure had been taken, including for Shoulder Dystocia.
No internals, no manoeuvring, no helping on bed/in pool/ - anything.
Boy did the SD thing get their attention and consequently I had very experienced midwives in attendance.
It was my understanding that the uses of forceps is medically referred to as a "trial of forceps" and in the case of high, rotational forceps, protocol is that only 3 contractions worth of attempts are 'allowed' and then they jack it in for a cs if there's no progress?
Obviously a baby further down the birth canal is a different issue as you don't have the ease of switching to a cs in the same way. I was spinal blocked and in theatre with a very high up baby (only her head was through my cervix) so clearly they were thinking it could easily end up in a cs.
I have to say that I was very pleased I'd had the forceps rather than the cs when it came to having DC2 as obviously everything had been 'travelled along' before and he shot out in 2 pushes (!) but I suspect it's maybe used as an option too quickly in some cases, when a bit of more creative midwifery could work round some cases of a lack of progress (and I do NOT mean being trapped on your back while some grumpy midwife makes you repeatedly hold your breath and push for far longer than felt natural).
I went down the hb route to avoid any unecessary fiddling using hypno & pool. 2nd stage took ages but baby ok so midwife sat me on the loo to get help from gravity and release pelvic floor.
If hb not your thing do your utmost to get into a mlu and stay there! The birthplace research stats show that is as safe for baby as labour ward and much better outcomes for mum. Sadly not all mums have access to one - hope you do!
Oh yes and try to avoid an epidurL as lying down makes it damn tricky to avoid needing help. Stay upright or on all fours - which wis why water for support is good....
I was also terrified of having a forceps delivery so I used hypnobirthing, had only gas and air and laboured upright but baby went back to back and I just couldn't push her out.
I asked for a section but they said forceps attempt was preferable, so I went to theatre and had a spinal block. Baby also had shoulder dystocia but was out in 3 pushes. She had a conehead for a few hours and a mark on her cheek that took a few days to disappear and was absolutely fine.
Other than being very sore for a couple of days (and one dreadful incident the day after the birth with some antibiotics which disagreed with me ); 11 weeks later I haven't had any problems.
It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be at all. My baby was born safely and we were both fine. My recovery was much quicker than if I'd had a section so I was glad in the end, and I wouldn't be so worried about having them in future. Obviously every delivery is different but wanted to reassure you that even if you don't have the birth you imagined it can still be positive. Good luck!
I really feel for you having read your post and totally agree with you, that women are like lambs to the slaughter when it comes to birth, you didn't say that, but that you don't trust medical staff.
They/we sit there in the most vulnerable position we will probably ever be in, thinking they are looking at us as individuals, and care about us!
I think birth plans are a total con.
I really hope you kicked up a stink, how could any consultant not listen to a woman's request after your horrendous ordeal.
I hope he was made to feel ashamed and indeed the person who had the temerity to introduce him to you as the man who keeps section rates down.
Where would you rather be cut, down below, or in the womb/stomach?
After my first birth, which by the way was normal, no stitches, I had a real problem going to the loo, I was so sore, it became very distressing, its really important to me to be able to go to the loo!
After my section, I was dreading catheter more than anything for this reason, and it was FINE!
I preferred the section.
My DD was vacuum delivered and she had a pointed head for 2 days.
Sorry that I haven't been replying ladies, I had some bleeding and cramping so it's been a scary few days! Had the scan this morning and all is good!
But back to the topic, I'm just trying to learn as much as possible before it gets to that point. My partner is also wary of forceps which makes me want to know all I can - he works in the ICU and doesn't often worry about medical procedures!
I was terrified of the prospect of forceps, and aimed for a water birth (first choice) or at least active birth (second choice). Nothing significant happened tho after my waters broke so I ended up on the drip, with constant monitoring.
After 15 minutes of pushing, I remember the mw saying 'you'll start to feel it stinging soon...' but then after getting me to change positions several times it was clear there was a problem when more and more people arrived in the room.
DS had got stuck due to his chin being up and not down - ie he was trying to come through the birth canal with the biggest part of his head first.
Ended up rather quickly in theatre for a trial of ventouse/forceps with emcs on cards. I was very lucky to have a consultant (which everyone was very excited by) and after he quickly ruled out ventouse went for the forceps.i still don't know which kind- my notes had midcavity in some places and low cavity in others - plus episiotomy and it worked.
I don't think they use high forceps in many trusts any more.
I had a spinal block which was great as the pain of him being stuck was excruciating.
He still has marks in front of his ears (born 8 weeks ago) but tthey have faded and hopefully will fade altogether. I am not yet fully healed but hope to get closer when I see the gp tomo for the 8 week check.
Two things worth saying I think- as traumatic as it was, I was ultimately relieved to not need a cs (whereas in pg I'd said I would rather go straight to cs). Second, if the time comes its more about informed consent than decision making- I vividly recall being handed one sheet to consent to the procedure, another to consent to spinal whilst in excruciating pain and having had pethidine and g&a. It's incredibly stressful. Despite that I still felt that if I wanted to put my foot down and ask for a section I could have.
I had a high forceps delivery with my first. He was born with a haematoma on his head which took a while to go down.
The doctor wanted to do a CS but I'd been so brainwashed by the NCT classes, about the negatives of a CS that I said only as a last resort.
I now wonder if a CS would have been better?
The two people I know who had forceps had a very bad experience and want an elected section. Both told medics they didn't want them but felt pressurised into it. If you really decide against forceps I think you would have to be as forthright as to say you refuse to give consent.
I mean want a elcs with next child.
From the experience of myself and people I know, forceps can be very unpleasant at the time they are used, but the general recovery from a forceps birth is generally quicker and better than an emcs.
Of course there will be exceptions to this - all I know is that it took me six weeks to even be able to walk properly after my emcs, whereas two close friends had nasty forceps births but were up and about very quickly afterwards.
I always thought I didn't want forceps anywhere near me or my baby but after he tried to turn and got stuck his heart rate dropped and the obstetrician explained he didn't have time to try the ventouse. I ended up with a pph, third degree tear and an extended episiotomy. My little boy had bruising to his head that went after a couple of days and that was it. Luckily I recovered very quickly and didn't have any ongoing issues as a result. It wasn't an ideal situation but I believe it was being delivered by forceps that saved his life.
CS over forceps every time. Much safer for the baby.
Would your friends tell you about faecal incontinence or prolapse?
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.
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 ....
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.
I would not consent to Kiellands (sp?) forceps. But, normal forceps would be fine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ). 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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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