Near the end of delivery, it may be apparent that mother and baby need a little extra help for a successful delivery. After ensuring anesthesia is working, an obstetrician would gently apply forceps or minimal suction to the baby's head. As you push through the next contractions, your doctor would gently bring the baby's head through the birth canal. It is only in extremely rare circumstances that an obstetrician would recommend an assisted delivery that was not needed.
An obstetrician will use forceps or a vacuum extractor to help deliver the baby.
Forceps are similar to tongs, with loops on either side, that are used to gently turn the baby's head or gently pull to assist the baby through the birth canal.
A Vacuum Extractor utilizes suction to turn the baby's head or pull the baby through the birth canal. Usually the suction cup has a controlled amount of suction, so just enough is used to help deliver the baby.
Why would an assisted delivery be necessary? The following are common reasons your caregiver may suggest suction, or what is also called ventouse:
Usually when assistance is necessary for delivery, some form of anesthesia is suggested.
You will want to discuss Pudendal with your caregiver, as it is a local anesthetic injected directly into the nerves just inside the vagina. Pudendal is most commonly used for women who have made it to 10 centimeters and were hoping for a completely natural delivery, but need a little assistance at the end. However, Pudendal is effective 80% of the time and its effects do not last long.
The following are effects that may occur if your baby's delivery is assisted with forceps:
The following are effects that may occur if your baby is assisted with suction:
Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association