Calls to ban the use of forceps in Australia due to the horrific injuries caused to some women during childbirth.

Brisbane mother, Amy Dawes, had planned for a natural birth for her first child. But those plans went awry when the baby got stuck and required intervention.

“I remember crying at the thought of a caesarean and I knew nothing of the risks of a forceps delivery,” she tells ABC news.

“I ended up with severe vaginal tearing and a third-degree perineal tear which still impacts on every aspect of my life including the work I can do and how I interact with my child and my partner.”

The experience prompted Ms Dawes to co-found the Australasian Birth Trauma Association support group.

She wants forceps banned or at least their use in Australia to be reduced.

Hans Peter Dietz, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Sydney Medical School, sees the aftermath of a traumatic birth while conducting surgical trials on women with damage to their pelvic floor or anal sphincter.

“Many obstetricians are simply not aware of how much damage is done by forceps,” Professor Dietz said.

“Forceps are a great instrument to use for the obstetrician but it’s very much at the cost of the woman and sometimes the baby.”

Did you have a forceps delivery?

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  • My first was forceps delivery and I had no issues afterwards at all. My second was natural delivery and I tore so badly that 2 months after having the baby I had to go back into hospital for corrective surgery.


  • My major concern with forceps deliveries is to the baby – my son had a hematoma so bad that the doctors told me they wouldn’t know if brain damage had been done until he was about 2 years of age. I could cope with the stitching to myself and other problems – but worrying for 2 years whether or not my child would be OK was a hard road.


  • No I didn’t have a forceps delivery.


  • My daughter in law had Spencer and she had a forceps delivery. He had marks on his face. I know that see had quite a few stitches, which got infected while she was still in hospital. She is finding this uncomfortable.


  • I was of the understanding that forceps were rarely used in deliveries as the vacuum option was safer for all involved?! My eldest child was born with vacuum (kiwi) assistance, my other two were both born with no assistance. Eldest had a bit of a bruise on her scalp for a few days after delivery, but no other problems.


  • We ended up with a vaccuum delivery and whilst I wouldn’t applaud it, my son was born safe and healthy. The next option was an emergency caesar. I trust that the doctor did what was need at the time to get my bub out safely and alive.


  • I am surprised that forceps are still being used! They’re practically medieval- we’re in the 21st century here, get with the times, we don’t need to subject women to instruments of torture.


  • We argued and fought for no forceps and we won. The specialist was absolutely livid – but there was no way.


  • The one thing I would change about my life is having a forceps delivery 36 years ago. I had no choice in the matter. It is a miracle that our daughter wasn’t brain damaged. But sadly my pelvic floor was wrecked. After two major operations I still live in daily discomfort, and may need even more surgery in time to come. Please BAN forceps in Australia. They are a barbaric tool that should not be used when the consequences can affect the rest of a womans life, in the way it has affected mine.

    • Bless you, that must be hard !

      • I’m so sorry. What a terrible experience for you and your daughter. :-(

      • By the grace of god my daughter did not suffer any damage at birth. A mother now to three beautiful boys all born by C-section. She is enjoying motherhood as all woman should thanks to an excellent obstetrician who monitored her labour and intervened when intervention was necessary. Thanks for your comments.


  • I never needed forceps so I don’t know enough about them. The damage to women is not good but the safe arrival of the baby is paramount too.


  • My daughter was born with forceps. I was born with forceps myself. Luckily no problems at all. My daughter had red cheeks for a couple of days but that’s it.
    Forceps became necessary for my daughter because the delivery was becoming dangerous and it was too late for a cesarean.


  • My baby was an undiagnosed breech birth. So the forceps were necessary to hold the vaginal canal open so it didn’t collapse on his head. That’s what they told me anyway


  • I was most scared of a forceps delivery. They just look terrifying.


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