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Problems in labour: Forceps

Reasons for the use of forceps during labour to overcome birth and delivery problems, plus suggestions for recovery.
Forceps are used in a similar way to ventous to deliver your baby quickly if it is distressed, or help you if the baby is not moving thorough the birth canal when you push.

If you and your baby are well, the second stage of labour does not need to be rushed. If there are concerns for either of you then your doctors may want to limit the amount of time you push for. This makes you more likely to need help with the delivery.

The choice of whether to use ventouse or forceps depends party on the expertise of the doctor or midwife who is to help you with the delivery. Sometimes it is not possible to deliver a baby using a ventouse cup but it is possible to help them out with forceps. Be guided by your health care professional as to which is the best choice.


You will be prepared in the same way as you are for a ventouse delivery. The forceps are inserted one at a time and locked together. You will again be asked to push while the doctor or midwife pulls. In the case of forceps delivery you will almost definitely need to have an episiotomy because it is not just your baby's head but the forceps as well that will stretch the perineum.

Your baby will be delivered in the same way as with a ventouse, lifted up onto you and an extra person will again normally be present to receive your baby.

It is a good idea to allow your baby to have vitamin K and to have your baby as close to you as you can as soon as possible. Sometime if your doctor thinks it may not be possible to deliver your baby successfully vaginally you may be taken to theatre before the procedure is started.

An attempt will be made to deliver your baby vaginally, if it is not coming easily the attempt will be abandoned and your baby will be delivered by caesarean section.


Recovery for you will be similar to recovery if you have had a ventouse delivery. Your baby may have some marks on the sides of it's face and some bruising from the forceps. Again these things normally settle fairly quickly, but it is possible that your baby could develop some complications as with the ventouse delivery. If this is considered likely you may be advised to stay in hospital for a few days to make sure you are both OK.

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