dangers of forceps delivery

Last reviewed 01/2018

The use of forceps should be undertaken by a skill operator and under the criteria outlined for use of forceps. If these criteria are not achieved then there is danger of damage to mother or fetus.

Possible maternal damage includes:

  • lacerations of vagina and cervix
  • rupture of the uterus
  • fistula formation (rectovaginal, vesicovaginal)
  • postpartum haemorrhage

Possible fetal damage includes:

  • fracture of the fetal skull and subsequent intracranial haemorrhage and death
  • facial palsy due to inaccurate application of the forceps
  • cerebral damage
  • facial bruising and/or facial palsy (due to inaccurate application of forceps blades) - both usually only temporary