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Thoughts on forceps

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

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

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

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

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

littlemissnormal Sat 14-Sep-13 13:35:53

I've had 2 forceps deliveries and no issues here.

gallicgirl Sat 14-Sep-13 13:38:50


Try hypno birthing and have a home birth. Forceps not part of the equation then. smile

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.

Sammi1986 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:06:34

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!

NomDeClavier Sat 14-Sep-13 17:24:27

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.

ballstoit Sat 14-Sep-13 17:40:14

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.

mysticminstrel Sat 14-Sep-13 17:42:39

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.

Scarlettsstars Sat 14-Sep-13 17:47:38

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

Scarlettsstars Sat 14-Sep-13 17:54:15

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.

MotherOfNations Sat 14-Sep-13 18:05:04

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.

ohforfoxsake Sat 14-Sep-13 18:13:41

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.

Polyethyl Sat 14-Sep-13 18:18:04

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.

Sammi1986 Sat 14-Sep-13 19:02:59

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

Littlemissexpecting Sat 14-Sep-13 19:08:10

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

Inclusionist Sat 14-Sep-13 19:11:25

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.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 14-Sep-13 20:41:32

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.

mysticminstrel Sat 14-Sep-13 20:45:02

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.

Beveridge Sat 14-Sep-13 20:57:03

I had a 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.

Beveridge Sat 14-Sep-13 20:58:53

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.

PenelopeLane Sat 14-Sep-13 21:10:53

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.

sillymillyb Sat 14-Sep-13 21:25:22

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.

TheFallenNinja Sat 14-Sep-13 21:28:43

Dd was as forceps delivery. It was necessary, quick and with no problem.

Guitargirl Sat 14-Sep-13 21:43:55

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.

Plonkysaurus Sat 14-Sep-13 21:58:50

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.

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