A forceps delivery can possibly cause risk of injury for both mother and baby.
Possible risks to you include:
- Pain in the perineum — the tissue between your vagina and your anus — after delivery
- Lower genital tract tears
- Difficulty urinating or emptying your bladder
- Short-term or long-term urinary or fecal incontinence (involuntary urination or defecation) if a severe tear occurs
- Injuries to the bladder or urethra — the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body
- Uterine rupture — when the uterine wall is torn, which could allow the baby or placenta to be pushed into the mother's abdominal cavity
- Weakening of the muscles and ligaments supporting your pelvic organs, causing pelvic organs to drop lower in the pelvis (pelvic organ prolapse)
While most of these risks are also associated with vaginal deliveries in general, they're more likely with a forceps delivery.
Your health care provider may also have to perform an episiotomy — an incision of the tissue between the vagina and anus — before placing the forceps.
Possible risks to your baby — although rare — include:
- Minor facial injuries due to the pressure of the forceps
- Temporary weakness in the facial muscles (facial palsy)
- Minor external eye trauma
- Skull fracture
- Bleeding within the skull
Minor marks on your baby's face after a forceps delivery are normal and temporary. Serious infant injuries after a forceps delivery are rare.