Assisted vaginal delivery

Assisted vaginal delivery

Most of the time women are able to push the baby out without any problems, but in certain circumstances some of them may need help in delivering the baby. Such circumstances may be for example patient being advised not to strain due to medical condition, unable to push effectively due to epidural analgesia, not making enough progress in pushing out baby or concerns for babies’ wellbeing.

Vacuum delivery

Soft cup is placed over baby’s head.

Forceps delivery

Baby’s head is held by two curved spoon shaped blades are applied on each side of baby’s head.

If there is a need for assisted delivery identified, your doctor will examine you to check that cervix is fully dilated and to determine position of baby’s head. Your bladder will be drained to prevent injury. You may need additional pain relief in form of local anaesthetic injected in and around birth canal. An appropriate instrument for situation will be chosen and applied. Your contractions and baby’s heart beat will be monitored throughout. You will be asked to push with the contraction while doctor will pull on vacuum or forceps to assist delivery of babies head. Once delivered instruments are then removed and the rest of delivery will be conducted as usual. Sometimes episiotomy – a small cut in tissue between vagina and anus is made to allow extra space for delivery of the baby.

Paediatrician usually attends the delivery and examine baby to make sure is in good condition.

Sometimes an attempt at assisted vaginal delivery is unsuccessful and caesarean section is required. It is important to note that caesarean section in these circumstances is very difficult to preform 

There is a risk for bruising and injury to vaginal walls and pelvic floor, and sometimes those injuries need to be repaired in operating theatre. Sometimes those injuries may affect bladder and bowel function. Bleeding after delivery may be heavy.

Shoulder dystocia may happen during any vaginal delivery, but is more common with assisted birth. Head of the baby is delivered and its shoulders are wedged behind pubic bone.  Several manoeuvres may be needed to deliver the baby.

Baby might have a swelling or a bruise over its scalp or face and that may take several days to resolve, however is not harmful to the baby. Very rarely there would be severe bleeding or baby’s skull fracture.

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