Ventouse Delivery in Childbirth

The device used during vacuum deliveries is called the ventouse, and is a powerful tool during deliveries where some assistance is needed. An alternative to forceps with a smaller risk of vaginal tearing, the vacuum method of assisted delivery is one of the prevalent medical techniques of its kind in the UK.

When is vacuum delivery used?

Ventouse is used in circumstances where the second stage of labour, where a mother is pushing hard to pass the baby through the birth canal, has been extended, and the mother is experiencing physical exhaustion. In these situations some method of assisted delivery is often needed to preserve the health of both mother and child.

During childbirth the baby’s heart rate is usually monitored, and if there are any signs of distress ventouse delivery is often used to speed up the process of childbirth which can be quite strenuous on a newborn baby’s heart.

There are a number of conditions which can affect a mother that would made prolonged periods of contraction, and the resulting effects on blood pressure, can be dangerous. These include heart issues, high blood pressure, and glaucoma.

Benefits of the use of vacuum delivery

The use of ventouse often alleviates the need for any kind of surgical intervention, like a c section or episiotomy (small incision made to widen the vagina for birth). Unlike forceps, vacuum delivery as the advantage of not causing facial marks and damage, which are risks associated with forceps delivery, an alternative method of assisted delivery.

There is much less risk of injury or trauma to the mother during vacuum delivery when compared to forceps delivery or caesarean procedures, which is a major advantage for many doctors an mums .

Risks of vacuum delivery

While ventouse carries less risk of bruising or scarring o the face, it does carry with it the possibility of the formation of a characteristic lump on the baby’s head called a chignon. Alternatively you can get a small bleed underneath the skin of a newborn called a cephalohaemtoma. Both events are typically temporary however, and often resolve within a few weeks of birth.

How is vacuum delivery performed?

The process of vacuum delivery is actually quite a simple one. A soft cup is placed on the top of the baby’s head, and suction is applied to draw the child out as the mother pushes. This extra little bit of force can make quite a lot of difference, particularly where labour is prolonged and beginning to take its toll on both mother and child.

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