When Is A Vacuum Delivery Procedure Needed

When Is A Vacuum Delivery Procedure Needed

Sometimes, during vaginal childbirth, a woman may have to undergo a vacuum delivery procedure. This procedure is performed by applying vacuum - a rigid or soft cup with a vacuum pump and a handle to the baby's head to get the baby out safely from the birth canal. A vacuum delivery helps greatly in cases of emergency since it is a rapid procedure. However, there are also some risks and complications that you need to be aware of as well.

Here is a list of few factors where a vacuum delivery procedure may be needed.

Maternal Exhaustion

Labour can be quite exhausting for women. If pushing has continued for more than an hour or two without much progress, you could drain and exhaust yourself and wouldn't be able to deliver your baby successfully. In such a situation, your doctor may use a vacuum extractor to avoid complications. The vacuum extractor helps the doctor to pull while you continue pushing.


Medical Conditions

Sometimes existing medical conditions can be aggravated when a woman pushes during labour. While pushing, the pressure in the brain or blood pressure may increase and cause some complications. Some of the conditions include high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, neuromuscular disorders or a history of strokes. In such cases, your doctor may use a vacuum extractor to help shorten the labour.

Fetal Problems

Throughout the labour process, doctors keep a constant check on the well-being of your baby. Sometimes fetal heart rate monitoring devices are continuously used. This helps keep a record of your baby's heart rate and patterns. Any changes in the heart rate or a prolonged drop in the heart rate of  your baby may require a vacuum delivery.

Abnormal Position Of Your Baby's Head

Sometimes labour might get delayed or prolonged due to the head of your baby being positioned abnormally. The positioning of the baby is considered abnormal if the head faces to the side, towards the front when you lie on your back, or when your baby's head is slightly tilted to one side. In such cases, delivery can be  delayed, and a forceps or vacuum extractor may be used to correct the position of your baby's head. A vacuum is used to help in auto-rotation.

Prerequisites For a Vacuum Delivery

Before your doctor performs a vacuum delivery, the following criteria should be met.

  • Your cervix needs to be completely dilated.
  • The exact position of your baby's head should be well-known.
  • Your baby has moved into the birth canal.
  • Membranes have ruptured.
  • Your pregnancy must be full-term since the risks of vacuum extractions increases in premature babies. Hence, a vacuum delivery should not be performed before 34 weeks.

Talk to Your Doctor

Vacuum deliveries are done in cases where delivery is taking too long or when the life of your baby is in danger. However, vacuum deliveries can also cause more complications and risks for the baby. These include minor ones as well as serious risks. It's important to be aware of these risks and talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding vacuum delivery. It's good to be educated and well-prepared before your delivery.


Also read: What Happens In A Vacuum Assisted Delivery?


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