Forceps or Cesarean?

Delivery, Questions/answers

The use of forceps is never the first choice for a doctor during childbirth. Forceps are a tool to either facilitate the baby’s descent into their mother’s pelvis or to speed birth in certain circumstances. While no one wants to see the doctor have to use them, they’re useful during a difficult labour or delivery. It’s important to talk about it during prenatal classes because you never know when forceps might be necessary during the last stage of labour.

Forceps are a metal instrument that looks like two opposing spoons. It’s inserted into the vagina and placed on each side of the baby’s head. It can be used to rotate a poorly aligned head or help exit the baby when there’s fetal distress (lowering heartbeat). This procedure will never take place without giving the mother local or regional anesthesia. An experienced health professional will evaluate:

  •    if the mother’s pelvis seems adequate;
  •    if their bladder is empty;
  •    if the way the baby is descending is known and allows for this manoeuvre;
  •    if the membrane is punctured;
  •    and if the baby is engaged before proceeding with the actual technique.

If the baby is judged to be too large, the cervix isn’t completely dilated, or if the baby is still too high up in the pelvis, forceps won’t be used. A caesarian will be more appropriate.

It’s understandable that you might be scared of this procedure when I talk about this instrument. However, I should add that this tool allows us to prevent many complications during difficult births. That is what preparing for the delivery of our child is—learning about different eventualities.

The most common indications for the use of forceps are when the baby stops descending, fetal distress, the poor positioning of the head, maternal fatigue or heart disease or other issues for the mother.

It’s understandable that you might be scared of this procedure when I talk about this instrument. However, I should add that this tool allows us to prevent many complications during difficult births. Picture yourself in an emergency situation and you will see it in a different light. For example, lying in a hospital bed, in labour, and your baby’s heartbeat is crashing. I must admit that I don’t know any parents that would refuse forceps if they have the chance of getting a healthy baby, with all its faculties. Suddenly the technique becomes less foreboding. For more details about this topic, you can watch my video Childbirth in a Birthing Room.

After a birth using forceps, I often suggest to parents that they get their baby examined by an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor skilled in working with babies. They should check their structures (skull sutures, displacement, neck [torticollis], abnormal compressions or stresses) to prevent associated problems. The mother should also be checked in the postpartum period.

If you have had similar experiences, please share them with us.

Take care and talk soon!

Associated articles on the topic:

  •    The realities of childbirth
  •    Epidural or spinal anesthesia
  •    Experiencing a caesarian

Videos associated with the topic:

  •    Cesarean childbirth
  •    Evolution of labour
  •    Analgesics and anesthetics
  •    Support during labour

Talk soon,

Marie
The Baby Expert

Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section.

Discover our videos

Subscribe to a monthly or quarterly package now to access full videos.

Birthing room

Birthing room

Delivery rooms in hospitals have changed the way we experience the arrival of a baby. Take a guided tour with
Prematurity

Prematurity

In this video, I am accompanied by Dr. Véronique G. Dorval, a neonatologist and director of the Neonatal Clinic at
Natural Childbirth in a Hospital

Natural Childbirth in a Hospital

Come will Marie and see the birth of Chantal and Joel’s second child, Léa. The couple chose to give birth
Osteopathy and baby

Osteopathy and baby

Osteopathy can help babies release tensions and strains after childbirth. Did you know you can do this in the water

Discover other articles

Factors that Can Prevent Triggering Labour

Factors that Can Prevent Triggering Labour

To read the previous part, go to Induction. Updated article : February 2023. Many factors can prevent labour from starting. In this article, I want
Pregnancy Acne and the Formation of Cysts

Pregnancy Acne and the Formation of Cysts

Did you read the previous part about skin colour changes during pregnancy? It’s funny, but many pregnant women say that their skin has never been
A Mother’s Needs During Labour and Delivery

A Mother’s Needs During Labour and Delivery

Hello Parents, Each person has different needs when giving birth to a baby. However, during my work in the maternity ward, I noted three needs
New Pregnancy Symptoms

New Pregnancy Symptoms

My name is Joelle, and I am worried because I have new pregnancy symptoms and I don’t know if they are normal or not. Are

Forceps or Cesarean?

Par Caroline Lacour Temps de lecture: 2 min
0