DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
A forceps delivery is a type of operative vaginal delivery. It's sometimes needed in the course of vaginal childbirth.
In a forceps delivery, a health care provider applies forceps — an instrument shaped like a pair of large spoons or salad tongs — to the baby's head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. This is typically done during a contraction while the mother pushes.
Your health care provider might recommend a forceps delivery during the second stage of labor — when you're pushing — if labor isn't progressing or the baby's safety depends on an immediate delivery.
A forceps delivery poses a risk of injury for both mother and baby. If a forceps delivery fails, a cesarean delivery (C-section) might be needed.
- Wegner ES, et al. Operative vaginal delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Holcroft Argani C, et al. Management of the fetus in occiput posterior position. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=46. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010:199.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins - Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 17. Operative vaginal delivery. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2000;95:1. Reaffirmed 2009.
- Heart disorders in pregnancy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec18/ch261/ch261i.html. Accessed May 11, 2012.
- Robinson JN. Approach to episiotomy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 4, 2012.
- Lavender. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND&pt=100&id=838&ds=&name=LAVENDER&lang=0&searchid=34422770. Accessed May 2, 2012.
- Sheikhan F, et al. Episiotomy pain relief: Use of Lavender oil essence in primiparous Iranian women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012;18:66.
- Brubaker L. Patient information: Pelvic floor muscle exercises. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.
- DeCherney AH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology.10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=9. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- You and your baby: Prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Washington, D.C.: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2011;1.
- Lowerdmilk DL, et al. Maternity & Women's Health Care. 10th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:470.
- Berens P. Overview of postpartum care. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.
- Lewicky-Gaupp C, et al. Fecal incontinence related to pregnancy and vaginal delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.