Here's All You Need To Know About Vacuum Delivery (Video)

Here's All You Need To Know About Vacuum Delivery (Video)

If you are looking for a less invasive method than caesarean sections, then the vacuum delivery method is your best bet. Here's how it's done.

Vacuum delivery is a way of assisting a pregnant woman who has trouble during the late stages of labour. This is done with the aid of a vacuum in between contractions. This article focuses on everything you need to know about vacuum delivery.

What is vacuum delivery?

vacuum delivery

How a vacuum delivery is carried out. Image: Pregistry.com

Vacuum delivery is also known as vacuum extraction or vacuum-assisted delivery. As the name already suggests, vacuum delivery happens when a vacuum device is used to direct your baby from a tight spot. This procedure is a form of assistance that also requires the mother to sometimes push, while the doctors attach a small cup to the baby’s head. The doctor will then use that small cup to guide the baby out as the mother pushes. Usually, during the procedure, a nurse is by the side pumping a handheld pump, which helps the vacuum stick to the baby’s head as it moves. But if the cup slips from the baby’s head more than three times, the doctor has to abandon the vacuum for a C-section.

Why do people choose vacuum delivery?

vacuum delivery

Vacuum deliveries are one of the most private methods of delivery. It is a less invasive method than C-sections. Hence, this method is chosen when certain birth criteria have been met. Criteria such as when your cervix is fully open and ready, your water has broken, and your baby has successfully moved head-first to your birth canal. All of these things suggest that you’re ready to deliver, but the vacuum may come into play for the following reasons.

  • Slow labour: A vacuum will have to be called upon if you’ve been pushing but labour isn’t progressing. The doctors might consider a labour prolonged after a certain amount of time.
  • Baby’s heartbeat: If your baby’s heartbeat changes, that’s a suggestion that there’s a problem. Your doctor might recommend a vacuum to assist you in getting the baby out as quickly as possible.
  • Health concerns: For the mother, there are medical conditions you might have that will warrant the doctor to limit the amount of time you have to push.

As less risky as vacuum delivery is, there are still conditions under which the doctor may advise against the use of this procedure. Those conditions are as follows:

  • The position of the baby’s head is unknown
  • When the baby wouldn’t pass through your pelvis either because of the size of the baby or your pelvis.
  • You’re less than 34 weeks pregnant.
  • The baby hasn’t arrived at the birth canal.
  • Other parts of the body like the shoulder, feet, and arms are leading the way to the birth canal instead of the head.
  • Your baby has a medical condition that affects the bones.

What are the risks?

vacuum assisted delivery method is less invasive

The fact that a vacuum delivery is less risky than other delivery methods doesn’t mean it’s completely without risks. Fortunately, babies hardly get injured during a vacuum delivery. Below are some of the possible risks to the baby.

  • There may be swelling in the baby’s head, but this goes away after a few days.
  • The baby’s skin might turn yellowish, a condition that can easily be treated with light therapy.
  • The shoulder might get stuck after the baby’s head is out.
  • There’s the possibility of a fractured skull, but this rarely happens.

There are some risks to the mother as well, but some of these risks can also occur during virginal delivery.

  • Short-term problem with urinating
  • Tears in the vagina
  • Short or long term problem with bladder or bowel control.
  • A tear in the vaginal wall to use the vacuum.

How is vacuum delivery done?

Before the procedure begins you’ll be given something to keep you from feeling any pain. Then the doctor might make a cut between the vagina and the anus. This is done to enlarge the opening of the vagina so that the vacuum may get to the head of the baby. Afterwards, the following steps will follow.

  • The doctor will place the cup-like vacuum to your baby’s head between contractions.
  • The vacuum pump will now be used to create a sucking effect that will help guide the baby out of the birth canal. This also helps keep the baby’s head from moving back up the birth canal.
  • When the baby’s head is out, the doctor will let you push the rest of the body out.

How often is vacuum delivery used?

Vacuum extraction isn’t always used because most doctors just go for a C-section when labour isn’t progressing. This hardly has anything to do with the vacuum procedure itself. Vacuum extraction can always be used to bring your baby forth to the world.

However, if vacuum delivery appears to be the best way to go, your doctor will talk to you about the risks and benefits. Also, after the procedure, your doctor will check to see if there are any injuries caused by the vacuum. Any tears sustained will be immediately repaired.

Read alsoHow To Give Birth With Ease: 9 Secret Tips To Speed Up Your Delivery 

Healthline, Mayo Clinic

Written by

Lydia Ume