How assisted delivery can put babies at risk for birth injuries

Pregnant women may sometimes require assisted delivery through the use of medical instruments to help the baby’s passage through the birth canal. In such cases, the doctor uses either a vacuum device or forceps to aid childbirth.

An assisted delivery may be necessary if the mother is undergoing a lengthy, difficult labor and is too exhausted to push her baby out. There may also be fetal distress or abnormal positioning of the baby’s head. When cesarean section is not possible, assisted delivery may be required to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.

During a vacuum-assisted delivery, the doctor attaches a flexible suction cup to the baby’s head to help guide it out of the birth canal while the mother pushes. The cup is connected to a pump that creates vacuum pressure. Alternatively, forceps may be used to rotate the baby into the correct position and gently pull it out of the birth canal. Forceps are curved surgical tongs that are inserted into the vagina to carefully grip the baby’s head.

Medical staff are responsible for deciding which instrument to use depending on factors such as the baby’s gestation period and position. Although birth-assisting tools have been used for decades to deliver babies, they can cause birth injuries if used improperly. For example, excessive force can damage the baby’s head and neck.

Forceps can cause temporary bruising to the baby’s face and even spinal injuries if they are used incorrectly. Infants delivered via vacuum can suffer temporary injuries such as swelling of the head or retinal hemorrhage — bleeding inside the eye — due to vacuum pressure. Birth injuries from vacuum extraction can range from minor scalp wounds to more serious, permanent problems such as skull fractures, brachial plexus injuries, brain hemorrhages and cerebral palsy.

It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If your child was injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik to learn more about your rights.