Research Finds Forceps Deliveries Less Risky for Newborns Than C-Sections, Vacuum Deliveries

When it comes to preventing birth injuries and stillbirths, the conventional wisdom has been that C-sections are safer for newborn babies.  However, that might not be true after all.  According to new research led by obstetricians at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, forceps deliveries may actually be much safer for newborns than C-sections and vacuum deliveries.

The researchers, who focused on more than 200,000 births, found that newborns who were delivered by forceps deliveries were about 45% less likely to suffer from seizures than those delivered through C-sections or vacuum pumps.  About .12% of the babies who were delivered using forceps had a seizure at birth, while that rate increased to .3% for babies delivered by C-section or vacuum.  There were also low rates of certain types of adverse events, including subdural hemorrhage and intraventricular hemorrhage in newborns from forceps deliveries.

Hawaii birth injury lawyers find the results intriguing, because of the growing popularity of C-sections around the country.  Forceps deliveries are now rarely chosen to help in a difficult childbirth.  In an emergency situation, doctors prefer using C-sections, and in some cases vacuum devices.

Approximately one third of US babies are delivered via C-sections.  According to the researchers, that is in spite of the lack of any evidence that C-sections are significantly safer than forceps deliveries.

The researchers believe that forceps deliveries are safer for newborns than C-sections or vacuum deliveries because doctors can access and remove the baby from the mother using forceps quicker than they can through C-sections or using vacuum pumps.  This reduces the risk of a possibly serious or fatal birth injury to the child.

The researchers are not recommending one particular type of delivery over the other.  They however recommend that doctors discuss all delivery options with women, before labor begins.

Posted in Birth Injury