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Assisted Birth - Vacuum

Assisted Vacuum Delivery

Sometimes baby can need a little bit of help making its way down the birth canal. Yes, it can be scary but sometimes it is necessary. There are 2 different methods for an assisted birth, forceps and vacuum.

A vacuum suction cup is attached to the baby’s head and during a contraction the doctor pulls on the cord attached to the suction cup. After 3 attempts and the suction cup detaching, the doctor must use another method. Vacuum's are only used if baby is showing signs of distress or labour is not progressing as it should. If assisted delivery is unsuccessful, the doctors are likely to opt for a caesarean section.

Vacuum extraction deliveries cannot be performed if:

- if you are 34 weeks gestation or less

- baby has a condition that affects the strength of their bones

- a bleeding disorder by mum or baby

- baby hasn't descended to midway of the birth canal

- unknown position of head

- shoulders/arms/bum/legs are leading through birth canal

- size of baby (oversized for mother’s hips)

Risks to Mum

- perineum damage or episiotomy

- difficulty passing urine or emptying the bladder

- incontinence

- weakening of the pelvic floor muscles

Risks to Baby

- scalp wounds

- skull fractures

- bleeding within the skull

- shoulder dystocia

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