Forceps or Caesarean

Hi ladies, Im currently 34 weeks pregnant and starting to put my birth plan together. Im a bit nervous of forceps tho, I know that my babies head is measuring on the large side and im hoping that I will be able to deliver naturally in a birthing pool but if I cant and the midwife wants to go down the ventuose or forceps route can I say no and ask for Caesarean instead? My brother was delivered by forceps and he still has marks on his ears from them and hes 30 now, but also the damage it did to my mum has effected her in the last 12 years ish and she doesnt get the natural lubrication down there. If the midwife wanted me have forceps I would be really really upset. Did anyone put their foot down and say no and opt for c section instead? X


  • Can't answer the question direct, but at the time you may just want baby out!! Don't under estimate c sections-I know some friends who have had them and they suffer mobility wise for months, its major surgery, not being able to pick baby up etc. I had a tear and had stitches under a spinal and i couldnt pick baby up as i was numb waist down, it killed me when he cried and i had to ring bell for midwife to pick him up. Luckily i was fine atter a few hours Times have changed since your brother was delivered in terms of his marks etc.

    In terms of natural lubrication-i delivered naturally and i don't have the natural lubrication i use to have!!
  • jamjar4jamjar4 Posts: 19
    I ended up having to have forceps and an episiostomy and to be honest it wasn't a problem at all. I felt sore down below for a few weeks but nothing major. My baby had a tiny little mark on her cheek from the forceps but this faded after a few days. Think I was quite lucky as baby was low down anyway and forceps delivery only took a few minutes.

    I think what I'm trying to say is that there will be horror stories for forceps and caesarian, as with any method of giving birth, but there will also be stories of where each of these methods worked out fine.

    Good luck!
  • cebpickle1cebpickle1 Posts: 6,786
    I had episiotomy and ventouse and while bruised and sore for a couple of weeks I am sure that recovery from a c section would take longer and cause more issues gor people I know. My cousin couldnt drive for 6 weeks after her c section or lify the baby much.

    Check with your midwife but I don't think you can be part way through delivery then opt for elective caesarean. They will only then move you to theatre if serious complications arise.
  • If the head is already way down the birth canal you wouldn't be able to c-section easily, and as others have said by that point you'll probably just want baby out!
  • I don't want to add fuel to the fire but on the flip side my nephew who is 5 this year got stuck so natural delivery wasnt possible. My sil was cut and forceps used but they couldn't get him out so she ended up with a section.

    My nephew has a scar and physical indent in his skull where the forceps held him. One behind his ear and the other on his forehead, well between his eye and top of ear - visible to the point my HV asked what he'd done to himself and was horrified when I said it was the forceps.

    My sil has been left severely traumatised by the whole experience and wishes they'd just sectioned her straight away. She will never have more children because of it. She was left with a cut from front to back passage and the c-section scar. One or the other is bad enough but to have both is awful.

    Speak to your midwife about your concerns. They can't force you to do something you don't want to do x
  • Marbs11Marbs11 Posts: 392

    Thanks girls, I know a lot of people don't have problems after forceps or episiotomys but I really can't bear the thought of a forceps delivery they seem so brutal. I've also had SPD since I've been about 20/22 weeks so aside from the cut / tearing having my legs pushed that far back and apart would be crippling. I'm dreading the possibility of that happening.

    If forceps don't work and I have to have a c-section anyway it will be twice as much healing.

    Does anyone know if healing from a tear was better than healing from a cut?


  • mrsleggomrsleggo Posts: 807

    When I was having my daughter they took me down to theatre and said they would try forceps and if that didn't work they would go to C-sec, luckily the forceps worked and I ended up with a tear which was painful for a few days but I had full mobility and could lift/carry my baby.

  • I had a tear, first baby so haven't had a cut but I believe they are less likely to do episiotomy unless needed for ventouse/forceps as you heal quicker from a tear.

    I too had spd and couldn't sit or lie down during established labour. I know it's not what you want but I had an epidural and it was amazing. The pain in my pelvis was the last thing I could still feel when I started to go numb but being able to concentrate on the labour rather than being in pain from spd worked great for me. I managed a natural delivery too.

    My walking went back to normal about 6 weeks after I had my daughter x
  • EllieKate83EllieKate83 Posts: 1,431
    My baby had a large head at 20 week scan & she was 8lbs 4Oz but honestly, the second stage (delivery) didn't really hurt & was fine (had small year internally that baby did with her hand - had a tiny stitch). What hurt was the transition stage. It was so painful!

    Anyway, try not to worry too much & take it as it comes. Is your baby head down & the right way round?
  • put the birth plan in the bin and go with the flow (thats what my midwife told me). so i didnt do one and thank god i didnt coz it didnt go at all the way i wanted it. i ended up having a 12inch cut and forceps, my son had a bruise on his face for a few days but is all fine now. Everyone is different. my friends just had her 2nd baby was fine till 5 mins before she started to push and decided to turn round so it was an emergency section. just relax and let it take its course

  • martinej1martinej1 Posts: 688
    Please don't think c section is the easy option, as it really isn't.

    I had an emergency section and was in terrible pain after. I still feel a pain sometimes now (8 months later)

    It was also heartbreaking not being able to lift my baby from the crib when he needed me.

    Once it comes down to it u will just want to do what is best for your baby and most birthing plans tend to go out the window :-/

    Good luck x
  • MrsDunksMrsDunks Posts: 1,027
    Hey, I think you will need to speak to your midwife about your concerns as I think that if forceps are suggested, your baby will have probably descended quite far down birth canal and will be too late for epidural so you would need anaesthetic etc, which personally I think would be much worse!

    I would also say that while I can understand your concerns, when it comes to birth never say never! I was lucky and managed natural birth (should have had emergency c section but lucky for me all anaesthetists were busy - I would def have chosen forceps over section though. I had also written in birth plan that I didn't want pethidine but after 3 days labour and then being told no epidural available I would have taken flippin cocaine if it would have helped! Ok, not quite, but you get my drift!

    Fingers crossed that you won't need either and all goes smoothly image But def have a chat to your midwife for advice xxx
  • MrsH2128MrsH2128 Posts: 566

    I had a ventouse and episiotomy when my son was born and it took me a good while to recover properly ( I had to sit on a cushion for 2 months and couldn't take my baby upstairs by myself for the first couple of days) but as I still had full mobility and could tend to my son so I would always choose this over a c-sec. I also had SPD to the point where I could not lift myself off the sofa or turn over in bed but the midwives and my hubby helped to push my legs back during labour (I was away with the fairies from the gas and air lol) but when they decided to do the ventouse my legs were placed in stirrups and I can honestly say I had no problems from my SPD. 

  • Definitely agree talk thoroughly through with your midwife what would happen if you get to that stage and what your options are.  Quite often they will suggest an epidural and do forceps in theatre so that they can be very quick with section if need be - but your midwife can give you accurate information about your hospitals policy.  If you tell them its a real fear based on family experience they might take that into account.  But you must be aware that in the heat of the moment although you can say no and I think they have to go by your wishes; believe me you will do whatever it takes to get that baby out safely. 

    I think its great everyone shares their stories; but at 34 weeks pregnant its not great hearing about when peoples interventions were problematic. It just feeds anxiety at a time when you have enough. So try not to take too much notice.  Child birth is a crazy thing and for every bad experience there are a whole heap of positive ones. 

    I had an episiotomy and ventouse and healed up really quick with no issues whatsoever and my nephew was born by forceps and at 18 months is 100% fine.  

  • coco1981coco1981 Posts: 246
    Definitely worth discussing your concerns with your midwife but this is a really tricky one and something I can fully sympathise with as the one thing I didn't fancy was an assisted birth (forceps or ventouse).

    I was lucky (in a way!) as my little one stayed breech so I had an elective section a week early. Elective sections are very different from emergency ones and I think the recovery tends to be much more straight forward but I can honestly say that my experience was fabulous. I had great pain relief afterwards, two days in hospital to establish breast feeding, I could hold and lift my baby with minimal discomfort and the lack of driving turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant I couldn't rush around at all but had to rest up and spend time with baby.

    I very much doubt that you would be given the option of section instead of forceps as (echoing what others have said) the baby will be almost out by then and it wouldn't be the safest option for you or the baby. Also, I am guessing that by that point you will just want them out safely and won't care how they do it!

    I found midwives couldn't be terribly helpful with this sort of thing as from very early on I told mine that I was worried about baby being big and my not being able to deliver them (as happened to my Mum). They just told me that labour is your trial and nothing can be altered or planned in advance - very helpful! Give them a go though and good luck!!
  • heliganedenheliganeden Posts: 1,848

    As others have said, please don't think a c-section is an easy or simple option. If you're already in labour and get to a point where natural birth isn't possible and then have a c-section it can be a very serious operation, because your muscles are already in labour

    My cousin had an emergency c-section and couldn't walk for almost 4 months, she was in a wheel chair because of the damage, and it took her a long time to fully recover (and prior to her pregnancy she was extremely fit, ran marathons etc)

  • shellbob73shellbob73 Posts: 3,152

    ***Possibly TMI so don't read if sensitive!**


    My first baby was a cat 1 c-section delivery, my second was an epi & ventouse & in all honesty I wish I'd have gone for another c-section.

    My recovery from the epi was awful, I couldn't sit, walk or go the toilet properly for a long time. After the c-section, of course I had difficulty doing certain things, but I was out doing 5 mile walks with my daughter in her pushchair within 6 weeks, after the epi it took me 4-5 months before I could walk that kind of distance, and I ended up in tears from the pain after the epi, which I never did after the c-section.

    My second was quite a big baby (9lb5oz) which didn't help.

    They'll be a lot of horror stories with every type of delivery but as others have said, when you're there & its happening you won't care what they have to do, you'll do anything to get your baby out safely. Also, they don't really do c-sections unless its absoltulety neccessary (you or the baby at risk) so I don't thinl you'll be able to request one.

    Good luck, chances are it'll go smoothly.


  • I had a forcep delivery which in itself was fine. Marking on Baby Nancy was minimal. It was the recovery that killed me.

    Basically I was cut 'from hole-to-hole' but the sitches were too tight and a few days after wards a hole (which was the size and depth of a mouth!) ripped in my bum cheek.

    Emotionally i found it so so draining and cried so much when I saw the damage in the mirror. You just want the whole debarkle to be over and to have a long recovery takes the shine of beoming a Mother. I was given strong pain killers etc but I was litrally walking around for a month like i was 80.




  • shellbob73shellbob73 Posts: 3,152

    Sarahjangles that sounds horrendous!

    You never really get told about the reality of having a cut & I underestimated how painful the recovery would be.

    I have scarring & stuff down there now which I wouldn't have if I'd gone for a c-section. image

  • Marbs11Marbs11 Posts: 392
    I begged for a c section when I was in labour as I was so tired , at the time id been having contractions for about 14 hours, been transferred by ambulance to a different hospital as babies heart rate was dipping and then had drip to pick the contractions back up. They wouldnt give me anything but gas and air. I had a catheter at 1 point and then was cut aswell so I would absolutely have rather had c section. The cut hurts a bit now and I gave birth 12 days ago but mostly just feel bruised. The scar doesnt look too bad but I dont know that I want to have another baby anytime soon after all that x
  • cebpickle1cebpickle1 Posts: 6,786
    Bless you arnica gel helped with the bruising pain and bathed in lavendar and tea tree oil helped cut heal
  • amoricksenamoricksen Posts: 347

    On the flip side, I had a C-Section and while it was a bit painful afterwards I was lifting my little girl from day one with no problems at all. I took my girl into work to visit colleagues when she was 4-5 days old and had a walk round town afterwards. Every delivery is different just like every C-Section, or forcep delivery will be different.

    I wanted a natural pool birth and ended up being induced, with gas and air, pethidine, epidural and c-section. If I'd have known how difficult and painful it would have been I'd have jumped straight to the C-section as I had a good experience there.

    It's good to have an idea about choices but at the end of the day we can't control what will happen and best to go with the flow on the day. The midwifes and doctors know what they are talking about and they will make the correct recommendations on the day.

  • sarahjangles - how long was it before you could walk around outside properly - go back to normal life? I have similar where stitches have come out and is an open wound there now which is why it is still hurting heaps even on painkillers and been 2 and half weeks and been told will take couple months to heal but could be longer. cannot wait to be able to go out for a walk with pram although id settle for going to toilet without pain at mo! image i'm so glad forceps worked though and did not need a c-section too! wish hadn't torn quite so much internally and externally though!!  question for anyone having torn, how long before you were able/wanted to be up for things in bedroom? my friend had similar tear to mine n she said was 6 mths before her husband got any action!

  • I can't reply fully at the moment but I'm a student midwife and from all the births and postnatals I've seen, forceps is deffo the better option for a lot of people. a csec is MAJOR surgery. in answer to your other question evidence suggests that a tear heals a lot better than an epis. pm me if you want to chat x
  • that's interesting casualelegance because i assumed being cut would heal quicker and was annoyed they didn't do that, so good to know by tearing hopefully was better option for me! image


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