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Forceps or CS?

(60 Posts)
ChicaT Mon 04-Feb-13 15:20:09

I have a heart condition and have been told that I won't be allowed to push for more than 20 mins when giving birth...this is my first baby, he's quite large, and I don't think there is any way I'll be able to push him out in 20 mins! They would then use forceps to remove him, which while it can cause internal tearing to me and bruising to him, I'm still being told is preferable to a CS due to elevated blood clot risk. I would be put on epidural very early on which can slow labour down, and as I would have been on it for such a long time by the time it comes to push, I may not be able to push at all! I've also been offered a CS if I want one. What are your experiences with forceps? Hideous? Do-able? Would you go VB it if you knew in advance forceps would be used? TBH a CS is seeming a lot simpler and calmer!

curiousgeorgie Tue 05-Feb-13 09:17:24

My friend and I had babies just a few days apart... I had a c section and after 2 days was up and walking around and visiting people, after 6 days I felt almost completely recovered and 2 weeks it was like I'd never had anything done.

My friend had forceps at the end of a long labour... A month later she was still having trouble sitting and had to use a rubber ring. She has had ongoing problems as a result.

Obviously partly down to luck but still something to consider is that while my DD was born looking pretty perfect and was very calm, her poor DS had a very bruised face, a misshapen head and was mad at the world! I believe that his birth and the headache he must've had could answer for the weeks of screaming my friend endured.

C section everytime!!!

perceptionreality Tue 05-Feb-13 09:23:24

I would have a CS for the following reasons;

less risk of damage to the baby (I've heard so many times where forceps caused damage)

no need for episiotomy (I had botched episiotomy stitches which took 6 years to heal)

3monkeys Tue 05-Feb-13 09:23:35

I had Kiellands (rotational) forceps with Ds1. It was painful but only for about 10 days, and I'm glad I didn't have a section. I went on to have 2 quick normal deliveries

choceyes Tue 05-Feb-13 09:32:03

I've not had a forceps delivary, but have had 2 c-sections. One a EMCS after a long labour and the second one an ELCS. The EMCS was traumatic after the long was traumatic, but the ELCS was wonderful and calm. I recovered very quickly and DD breastfed beautifully!
ELCS all the way!

choceyes Tue 05-Feb-13 09:32:28

meant to say EMCS after a long labour was traumatic!

WutheringTights Tue 05-Feb-13 09:35:56

I had DS 6 weeks ago with forceps (first baby), and I also had a PPH. I needed forceps after an hour of pushing because I had been in labour for a looong time and DS's heart rate was dipping. I didn't have an epidural so had a pudential block for the forceps part. DS had a small mark on his cheek but was otherwise unmarked. He didn't feed much for the first couple of days but as soon as my milk came in there was no stopping him, and he's now a beautiful feeder. I recovered well, no problems with the stitches and was shopping in John Lewis with DS in a sling 7 days later. The chap doing my delivery was very good though (a registrar). I guess it depends on who does it and how good they are.

Flisspaps Tue 05-Feb-13 09:43:43

I had forceps for both of mine.

Given the choice in advance, I'd have gone for ELCS.

MammyKaz Tue 05-Feb-13 09:47:17

For me it would be no contest - elcs. DD was a very difficult forceps birth & it was horrible for both of us. Although I've recovered fine we still have some ongoing issues with DD which I'm convinced can be linked back to forceps damage - although try to get a paed to consider that!! she was left with a big dent in Her forehead & has some gross motor skills issues that are being monitored.
Agree with cranial osteopathy, we went after birth & have started up again recently our osteo is a godsend & is helping loads.
Emotionally I hate thinking about the birth as I get so upset.
It is different for everyone but had the risks REALLY been explained clearly at the time I would have refused.
Trust your instincts. The key thing is your baby comes into this world safe & you are as whole as possible afterwards.

MolotovCocktail Tue 05-Feb-13 09:55:02

I haven't read the other posters comments as I wante to directly answer your question, OP, with individual honesty. Il read others comments afterwards.

I would choose an ELCS over a forceps VB. This is because I consider the risk factors of an ELCS to be preferable to a forceps VB. There are risk factors to both modes of delivery. However, usually the risks are calculated and predictable with an ELCS. I believe this is less so for a forceps VB. There is statistical data available (from the NICE website) that gives information about an ELCS in a first-time mum and compares this against an unassisted vaginal delivery. The data is comparable; obviously you'd need to see data on forceps deliveries and compare this with ELCS.

My personal experience is that I had a protracted labour with DD1 which resulted in an episiotomy for me and a ventouse delivery. I suffered a damaged tailbone (which, 4 years later is still painful from time-to-time). There were no complications other than that, but it took about 8 months to feel 'normal' in my vaginal and perineal areas again.

In April last year, due to my tailbone problem, I elected to have a CS. I had a very positive experience; it was a calm, happy and joyous birth smile I preferred healing from the abdominal wound to the perineal one, and would say I was back to normal after about 12 weeks.

Try and get as much info together as possible to make an informed decision, and also listen to your instincts. Go with your gut feeling - it's usually right smile Good luck.

MolotovCocktail Tue 05-Feb-13 10:00:05

Oh, and when I say 'normal after about 12 weeks', I mean feeling 100% comfortable doing housework, being able to sleep on my belly, or quickly get out of bed. I was standing up te next day, taking gentle strolls after about 1 week, short trips out after 3/4 weeks and driving again after 5 weeks.

VinegarDrinker Tue 05-Feb-13 10:06:09

I had a positive forceps delivery with episiotomy. Pretty quick recovery and no problems having sex etc.

You need to consider how many children you will want in total as part of your decision making. 3rd Caesareans onwards can be fine but can be very tricky with a much higher risk of complications.

MildDrPepperAddiction Tue 05-Feb-13 10:24:44

I've had both forceps (with third degree tear) and emcs. Neither are nice, but I think the cs was less traumatic for me and definitely so for the baby.

Good luck with your decision.

ByTheWay1 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:26:57

I had a partial failed epidural which made a CS very agonisingly traumatic to start with! recovery time was long and 3 days in hospital and I felt generally sore and slow for a month or so after.

Second was a VBAC - I had forceps due to just being so tired, small episiotomy, no tearing, up and out of hospital that day, felt bruised for 2 or 3 days - much better experience for me.

Both babies BF well. CS DD has allergies/chest infections, forceps DD does not - I will always wonder if it is due to method of birth as there is no history of allergies/chest trouble in either family.

MarshmallowFarm Tue 05-Feb-13 10:30:11

ELCS any day of the week - I had a forceps delivery and it took me 5 years to recover physically. DD had terrible colic and now has SEN, both of which some paedeatricians have suggested may have been exacerbated by the forceps.

Good luck!

JollyRedGiant Tue 05-Feb-13 10:32:51

I had a hurried forceps delivery. With no lasting damage. I had a graze afterwards which took a few weeks to heal though. I imagine it was significantly less painful than a CS recovery! I'm 5'1 with size 10 hips and had an 8lb 3 baby.

That's not to say forceps would go as smoothly for anyone else - you hear lots of horror stories.

The impact of a CS on breastfeeding was something that concerned me. Not that there is a great deal of conclusive scientific research into the effect on BF rates, especially when the section is planned. It was just an irrational concern I had.

DontmindifIdo Tue 05-Feb-13 10:33:27

I had a forceps delivery with DS. If I knew for definate I'd be doing that again, it would be CS, no question. Have been told I could have an ELCS this time round if I want, I'm still debating it but only because I'm intending to put 'no forceps' all over my notes.

Let me put it this way, only 1 woman I know who had a forceps delivery didn't have any complications afterwards caused by it (about 15 woman I know had forceps), of those who had CSs, I don't know any who had complications (around 20 woman I know who've had them, both emergancy and planned).

Narked Tue 05-Feb-13 10:38:02

CS would be safer for you and the baby unless there are specific clotting risks related to your heart condition.

atrcts Tue 05-Feb-13 15:26:28

I had forceps delivery and it was brutal. I was shoved so hard up the bed that they had to pull me back down to continue!

Baby came out with purple rings on his eyes and was cut and bruised for weeks after. He was desperate to suck constantly and I think he must've had one heck of a headache poor little mite. I took him to a baby cranial chiropractor to help realign his spine.

It twisted my pelvis so much that it hurt to stand and took 2 years to heal. I also needed Physio to help tone up the anal sphincter and although it improved, it's never been the same since.

I have a medical condition (multiple sclerosis) which studies show increase the likelihood of an assisted delivery. For this reason, and because of the MS fatigue, I want a c section next time. I'd rather repair for 6 week than 2 years!

Someone else said you have to push with forceps and that's true. I couldn't sit down for weeks after birth and had to use a rubber ring! Also had to have cautery to the episiotomy scar at 8 weeks as that had failed to heal (due to the terrible swelling which healed so slowly).

I'm not saying everyone experiences the same trauma but you can never know with forceps and with a heart condition, I am surprised you'd be offered anything other than a section.

Ushy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:50:38

ELCS every time:-) You can be lucky with a forceps and not have much damage but the reverse is also true and the potential risks like bowel incontinence, prolapse, damage to the baby's head etc I felt were never properly explained.

ByTheWay1 Tue 05-Feb-13 16:01:28

But Ushy do they explain the risks of bladder cut (more common than you think with ELCS !), cuts to the baby, wound infection, future fertility and placental problems, adhesions, rupture etc for CS birth?? You can also "be lucky" with a CS and not suffer much damage.. there are risks to both.

Flisspaps Tue 05-Feb-13 17:09:07

ByTheWay1 The potential risks of forceps were NEVER explained to me in either case - and both times there was more than enough time to do so. Everything I know about forceps has come from MN!

MadeinBelfast Tue 05-Feb-13 17:38:45

I could have written your post OP. I had fantastic medical support on a high dependency unit in the labour ward with extremely competent midwives. After being induced I was left for 12 hours for the head to descend as far as possible and then after 20 minutes pushing a consultant carried out a forceps delivery. We were both absolutely fine and I would have no qualms about trying it this way again. Obviously every birth is different but get as much advice as possible and then choose what seems to be the best option for you. Good luck!

louschmoo Tue 05-Feb-13 22:04:44

Read this with interest as I just had an appointment with consultant to discuss my impending VBAC. I was pretty keen to refuse forceps outright and move straight to CS in event of difficulties. After discussion we've agreed that I will consider low/outlet forceps, but not high forceps. I feel fairly happy with this, although am hoping it doesn't come to that and that baby just glides out!

samarcanda Wed 06-Feb-13 11:39:07

C section ABSOLUTELY! I m a strong advocate against this horrendous practice of using forceps to save money that the NHs still persists on using ... No other developed country does this from the 80s! My cousin was seriously brain damaged by a bad forceps delivery, on a wheelchair all his life! Since then I ve tried to scare away from it as many people as I can..sorry but I d rather sound horrible than being complacent. The risk of clothing is so much lower and better managed with blood thinners than the risk of a bad forceps delivery.... Also to put you completely off, try googling an image of it...

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Feb-13 15:12:56

With the greatest respect Samarcanda, I don't think that 'scaring' women about forceps delivers is the most useful strategy when the OP is trying to make this significant decision.

Let's face it, the things that could go wrong with CS (and labour generally, for that matter) are very scary. I was 'scared' by my OB at our initial consulatation of the things than can go awry with CS. It wasn't helpful at all.

What was helpful was looking at the likely outcomes of ELCS and VB - in the OP's instance, VB with forceps.

Now is not the time for scaremongering. I agree with you that I would prefer an ELCS over a forceps VB, but that's only because I'm aware of the risks and benefits of both and prefer the outcomes of ELCS.

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