When are forceps used for delivery
Much before caesarian sections were possible, forceps were used to help a baby stuck in the birth canal. They can only be used when the first stage is complete and the cervix is fully dilated. Nearly all premature babies are delivered by forceps to protect their delicate skull bones through the birth canal.
Under what conditions does a doctor decide to use forceps
The doctor would consider using forceps if the baby's head was engaged and labour suddenly ceased, or the baby's presenting was in a posterior position (as in breech baby) or under conditions of prolonged labour and foetal distress.
How is forceps delivery carried out
The doctor will first administer a local anaesthetic into the perineum and perform an epsiotomy. He will then cradle the baby's head in the curved, blunt blades of the forceps (which look like sugar tongs), to form a protective cage, and gently bring the baby's head down into the perineum. Then the forceps are disposed with and the rest of the delivery proceeds as normal.