Instrumented deliveries often result in skull fractures

| Apr 28, 2020 | Injuries |

Some women go through labor with no complications. For others, a moment they have waited for quickly ends in a scenario resembling a nightmare. When deliveries become especially difficult, doctors may rely on instruments for assisted delivery, but the risk of injury climbs significantly.

Forceps are one of the most common tools doctors turn to for assisted delivery. According to Mayo Clinic, this has the potential to cause injury to not just the mother but the baby.

The potential risks

Mayo Clinic identifies the potential risks to the child:

  • Skull fracture
  • Bleeding inside the skull
  • Temporary weakness in facial muscles
  • Minor eye trauma
  • Seizures

About the skull fractures

A recent study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine also points to skull fractures as a risk of using instruments during delivery. In fact, skull fractures during delivery are overwhelmingly caused by the use of these instruments. When instruments cause the skull injury, the fractures end to be either depressed or linear. Thankfully, many cases are asymptomatic.

Potential for hemorrhages

Sometimes, linear skull fractures lead to epidural hemorrhage. Some signs that this may be happening to a baby include irritability, seizures, hypotonia and bulging fontanelle. To confirm the injury, doctors may need to complete an MRI or CT scan.

Parents who suspect a baby is suffering from a fractured skull or any accompanying injuries should consult with a doctor immediately. Doing so before symptoms worsen may help to alleviate the problem before causing irreparable damage. It is understandable that the parents may not feel comfortable returning to the professional or facility they think may have caused the injury, so seeking alternative options may become necessary in the interim.