Using forceps or delivery surgical instrument set increases the risk of tearing (the perineum dilates more quickly), but it is not systematic. It results in a rupture of the tissues of the perineal region that can extend to the anal region. To avoid this maternal complication, the medical team often decides to perform an episiotomy. This incision helps limit the extent of the tear and therefore long-term complications such as stress urinary incontinence or anal incontinence.
The introduction of forceps without an episiotomy can indeed cause larger tears that can affect the anal sphincter, but this is rare.
Be careful, this does not mean that the episiotomy is systematic in case of forceps. It is up to the doctor to decide by evaluating several parameters such as the flexibility of the patient’s perineum, the size of the baby, the urgency to take the baby out…
However, if the fetus does not progress through the pelvis despite the forceps, the doctor must abandon this route of delivery after 3 unsuccessful pulls.
Forceps deform the baby’s head
This is one of the main fears a pregnant woman has about forceps and yet it is unfounded. Indeed, the forceps clamps are fixed; they cannot compress the baby’s skull. The baby may have slight red marks on the cheeks, temples and ears, but they usually go away 24 to 48 hours after birth. If the newborn’s head is deformed, this is due to its passage through the mother’s pelvis, but never to the forceps.
Fracture of the skull with indentation of the fractured part is possible with the use of forceps, but it remains rare. In contrast, forceps cannot induce neurocognitive sequelae in children.
Cesarean section is safer for the baby than forceps
For those who would prefer to go through the caesarean section rather than forceps, know that the use of forceps is more judicious. First of all, it should be noted that the use of instruments during childbirth above all allows the parturient to avoid a cesarean section. However, we know that women who give birth vaginally often recover faster than those who have had a cesarean section. But that’s not all; forceps are less invasive for the baby than cesarean section.
According to a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2012, babies born vaginally with forceps have a 55% reduced risk of neonatal seizures compared to those born by caesarean section or with suction cup. Also, babies born using instruments are less likely to have an Apgar score of less than 7 (a test that assesses the vitality of a newborn. A score below 7 indicates or failures) than those born by Caesarean section.
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