Forceps delivery should only be performed if there are clear indications and no contraindications. The use of forceps to assist delivery has been associated with a number of fetal complications.

Neonatal complications associated with forceps delivery include:

(1) facial or scalp lacerations

(2) facial nerve injury

(3) ocular trauma (corneal abrasions, extraocular, other)

(4) skull fracture

(5) intracranial hemorrhage

(6) subgaleal hematoma

(7) hyperbilirubinemia

(8) fetal death

(9) brachial plexus injury


One of the challenges in evaluating fetal complications is distinguishing a finding with causal association with forceps use from conditions that prompted their use.


While some complications that can be directly related to the use of forceps are higher, many of the other complications are similar or lower than other means of delivery.

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