On occasion it is necessary for a health care provider to assist the mother during the pushing stage in order to make for a successful delivery. After administering anesthesia and ensuring that the mother is comfortable the health provider will use forceps or suction to ease the baby’s head out of the birth canal.

Instruments Used In An Assisted Delivery

Generally forceps or a vacuum extractor is used in an assisted delivery. Forceps are very similar to tongs, except they have loops on the ends to hold the baby’s head. Forceps are used to gently turn or pull the baby’s head so that the delivery can progress. A vacuum extractor has just enough suction to help pull the baby out or turn their head.

Why Are Assisted Deliveries Necessary?

Here are a few reasons why you may need an assisted deliver:

  • An epidural may interfere with the use of pelvic muscles which help turn the baby’s head and shoulders. Additionally it may be more difficult to push with the contractions when you can’t feel them.
  • When the baby is not is a good position for delivery.
  • When the baby is not getting enough oxygen or is in distress.
  • When you are too tired to push.

Will I Require Anesthesia?

Generally when an assisted delivery is required it is suggested that the mother have some sort of anesthesia. For those who prefer a more natural delivery a pudendal block is the least invasive procedure as it only numbs the nerves immediately inside the vagina. However, a pudendal block works best in situations where the women is 10cm dilated and wants to complete the delivery unmedicated. It should be noted that a pudendal block is only effective in 80% of cases and does not last very long.

Post Assisted Delivery

After your baby has been delivered with forceps or suctions there are certain effects that may occur. For forceps deliveries:

  • A reddish area on the face or small bruises
  • Rare damage can occur to the baby’s facial nerves which is usually temporary
  • The baby’s head may be slightly cone-shaped, which is perfectly  normal for a vaginal delivery

For suction deliveries:

  • There may appear to be a small blood blister on the scalp, which will heal in 6-8 weeks
  • Possible bruising on the scalp, which will fade after a few days