By Alexandra Frost, December 15, 2021

Forceps may be used in a variety of instances, usually resulting from an unexpected complication during birth. “The primary reasons for [forcep] use include maternal exhaustion from pushing,” says Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at New York City Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “[They can also be used because of] fetal distress, if the fetal head is not positioned correctly, or if the mother has an underlying medical issue, like cardiac disease, which precludes her from pushing.” Dr. Gaither explains that forceps are rarely utilized in the U.S., with only around 1% of births utilizing forceps.3

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