Forceps delivery tied to lower brain injury risk

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When babies need help coming into the world, forceps may carry less risk of newborn seizures compared with vacuum deliveries or Cesarean section ...

In recent years, forceps have fallen out of favor when it comes to aiding a difficult childbirth. Vacuum devices are more often used, while C-section rates have surged.

... that's all despite a lack of evidence that vacuum or C-section deliveries are actually safer for newborns compared with forceps ...

... newborns delivered by forceps were 45 percent less likely to suffer a seizure than those born via vacuum pump or C-section.

On the other hand, babies delivered by C-section were less likely to have one type of bleeding around the brain -- known as subdural hemorrhage.

The risks of any of those complications were low, whatever the type of delivery ...

Forceps have often been labelled riskier for mothers and babies than a vacuum extraction delivery, however this study questions that belief. My experience has been that a forceps delivery, in the hands of a skilled obstetrician, is perfectly safe for the mother and baby. I have found that forceps are more likely than a vacuum to result in a vaginal birth, while more attempted vacuum deliveries "fail" and end up going to caesarean section. Fewer forceps deliveries "fail". With a vacuum extraction, the baby is essentially pulled out by its scalp, whereas with forceps, the baby is pulled out by the body parts of its face and skull. I think this method is kinder to the baby. The best approach though is to promote unassisted vaginal birth, where the woman pushes her baby out (or breathes her baby out) without any instruments. This is most likely if the woman has had no pain relief in labour, is assisted to birth in an upright position and is supported by a known and supportive midwife.

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