Ideally, childbirth would be 100% natural and entirely without complications. As many of us know, however, this is not the case. Sometimes, vaginal deliveries need assistance to be successful. Other times, vaginal delivery is impossible, and a Cesarean delivery, or C-section, becomes necessary.
Deciding whether to aid vaginal delivery or begin an emergency C-section is difficult, but it is ultimately the responsibility of your doctor, or whomever is delivering your child.
If assistive devices, like vacuums or forceps, are used, it is crucial that your doctor operates them correctly. If used incorrectly, the consequences you and your child suffer could be monumental.
When you or your child are severely injured during an assisted delivery, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. While filing a lawsuit is not an enjoyable activity, it can help provide you and your family with the financial security you will need moving forward.
WHEN IS AN ASSISTED DELIVERY NECESSARY?
If a woman is pushing with no results for 2 or 3 hours, the doctor may recommend an assisted delivery, also known as an operative vaginal delivery. Nevertheless, active labor lasts an average of 8 hours and some mothers have safely delivered after over 17 hours of labor.
Typically, doctors will not perform an operative delivery unless the mother or child is at risk. If the mother has a heart condition or problems with her blood pressure, or if she is overly exhausted, she may need assistance. Infants with abnormal heartbeats will also need to be delivered immediately, so they can be diagnosed and treated.
HOW IS AN OPERATIVE DELIVERY COMPLETED?
There are two methods for assisting delivery: vacuum extraction and delivery with forceps. In general, vacuum extraction is preferred because it is less forceful and easier on the mother. Still, delivery with forceps has a higher overall success rate. There are certain risks associated with each method.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF VACUUM EXTRACTION?
Using a vacuum to deliver a baby requires less anesthesia and pain medication for mothers. The vacuum fits easily into the vagina and delivers the baby via suction. Vacuum extraction is not heavily associated with maternal death and maternal trauma.
Unfortunately, vacuum extraction is more likely to fail than delivery with forceps. When one method of operative delivery fails, the only other option is a C-section. Vacuums also increase the risk of:
- internal hemorrhaging
- stretching of the brachial plexus
- retinal hemorrhaging
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF FORCEPS DELIVERY?
Forceps have been around longer, and more physicians have skill and training with forceps delivery. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found forceps delivery to be more successful and less likely to cause infant morbidity.
Conversely, forceps are more likely to cause severe wounds to the mother and are more heavily associated with maternal mortality. Forceps may also result in more serious nerve injuries or increased trauma to the skull, and they share many of the risks associated with vacuum extraction.
WHEN IS AN ASSISTED DELIVERY INAPPROPRIATE?
Regardless of the method, a doctor should not choose an assisted delivery if any of the following conditions are true:
- The baby has a bleeding disorder or condition that affects their bone strength
- The baby’s head has not yet moved past the midpoint of the birth canal
- The exact position of the baby’s head is unknown
- The baby’s arms or shoulders are emerging before their head
- The mother’s pelvis is not large enough for the baby to pass through
- Another operative delivery method has already been attempted
Vacuum extraction, in particular, should also not be used prior to 34 weeks of gestation.
HOW CAN I BEGIN MY LAWSUIT?
If you or your child suffered severe harm after an inappropriately assisted delivery, you have a strong case for a birth injury lawsuit.
Our experienced attorneys can help you build your case, file a claim, and win the compensation you are entitled to.