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Did you know that the first to use forceps in childbirth was Hippocrates? It occurred in the first centuries of the Modern Era, although the foundations of the modern obstetric forceps were not established until the year 1580. The forceps used today are very different from those of the past and have become a useful tool for shortening the length of labor or avoiding a cesarean section.
Forceps or spatulas look like two spoons, shaped like an X, which are assembled together so that they cannot put too much pressure on the baby's head. They are used to complete labor when the baby does not descend through the birth canal and the mother cannot push any more (due to fatigue or the risk of heart attack), or when she is poorly positioned, the gynecologist and midwife have this instrument, which allows them to grasp and turn the fetus's head enough to it comes out properly.
Forceps are always used during the delivery phase, when the cervix is fully dilated and the fetal head is already in the birth canal. Often, its use is combined with the incision of an episiotomy, which favors the passage of the fetal head through the vagina. It is indicated in cases of fetal distress or in excessively prolonged delivery. In this way, it is avoided that the newborn suffers a lack of oxygen that damages his brain or that the mother may present a problem due to excessive exhaustion during labor. The professional, who performs this technique, has to be perfectly trained to use it and, if it does not give the expected result, a cesarean section must be used.
This device, a kind of double X-shaped spoon, has been accompanied by controversy for years, although there are currently studies that indicate that its use is practically one hundred percent safe. Proponents of forceps argue that their use has saved many lives, while its detractors rule out the use of this tool Because it causes vaginal tears, fistula formation, bruising and damage to the vaginal muscles in mothers and babies, the use of forceps can put too much pressure on some nerves in the face, causing facial paralysis in the baby, in the most serious cases. In less serious cases, the baby may present some bruises, marks on the face and a deformed or domed skull, although these consequences disappear in a few days.
Positive aspects of using forceps
- They allow a vaginal delivery, even when the fetus is not in the correct position, it is only necessary that the head is present in the birth canal.
- Avoid cesarean section when the baby does not advance and the mother is too tired to push the delivery.
- Reduces the duration of labor.
Negative aspects of using forceps
- Bruises in the muscular tissue of the maternal perineum.
- Urine leaks, which usually disappear after a few days.
- Temporary marks, bruises and deformations on the baby's head, in the place where the forceps was applied.
- Possible damage to the nerves in the baby's face, which can cause paralysis.
- Fractures in the baby's skull.
- Cephalohematoma, blisters on the baby's scalp.
- Brain damage, which can cause mild to severe mental retardation.
You can read more articles similar to Forceps: when should it be used in childbirth?, in the category of Delivery on site.