A vacuum extractor consists of a small cup made of a rubberlike material that is connected to a vacuum. It is inserted into the vagina and uses suction to attach to the fetus’s head. If vacuum extraction delivery is tried and is unsuccessful, cesarean delivery Cesarean Delivery Cesarean delivery is surgical delivery of a baby by incision through a woman’s abdomen and uterus. In the United States, up to 30% of deliveries are cesarean. Doctors use a cesarean delivery... read more is done. Rarely, a vacuum extractor bruises the baby’s scalp or causes bleeding in the baby’s eyes (retinal hemorrhage). Vacuum extraction also increases the risk of shoulder dystocia Shoulder Dystocia Position refers to whether the fetus is facing rearward (toward the woman’s back—that is, face down when the woman lies on her back) or forward (face up). It’s important to check the baby’s... read more (especially if the baby is large) and jaundice Jaundice in the Newborn Jaundice is a yellow color to the skin and/or eyes caused by an increase in bilirubin in the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a yellow substance formed when hemoglobin (the part of red blood cells... read more .
Forceps are metal surgical instruments with rounded edges that fit around the fetus’s head. Rarely, using forceps bruises the baby or tears the area between the opening of the woman’s vagina and anus (called the perineum).
Vacuum extraction or forceps delivery may be required in the following situations:
When the fetus is in distress
When the woman becomes too tired to push effectively
When labor is prolonged
When the woman has a disorder (such as some brain or heart disorders) that make vigorous pushing inadvisable
Using Forceps or a Vacuum Extractor
Forceps or a vacuum extractor may be used to help with delivery. Forceps are placed around the baby’s head. A vacuum extractor uses suction to adhere to the baby’s head. With either device, the baby is gently pulled out as the woman pushes.