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Monday, April 13, 2009

Vacuum-assisted Delivery

10:31 AM

A bowl-like apparatus is attached to a baby's head and the air between the baby's head and the apparatus is sucked out to create a vacuum. The apparatus is then pulled to extract the baby. This method is used more frequently than the forceps method. Hard labor, mechanical deliveries using vacuums and forceps, and emergency cesarean sections occur at a considerably high rate: approximately 20% of births. Therefore, advance knowledge of these scenarios can help the patient understand the doctor and make decisions about her baby's birth Compared to forceps delivery, the advantages and disadvantages of vacuum-assisted delivery are as follows.


# The vacuum method is easy to use and does not require much experience. It attaches to the baby's head and does not bruise the baby's face.
# If too much pressure is applied, the vacuum detaches. Compared with forceps delivery, the risk of applying excessive force on the baby's head is low.
# It can be performed even when the baby is on his or her side.


# Because the force that holds the baby's head is weaker than that used by forceps, this method may require several attempts. There is also a higher risk of a failed mechanical delivery with this method.
# The vacuum is difficult to attach if the baby's head is swollen from a long labor.
# Excessive force can damage the baby's skin and cause hair to fall out, hypodermal bleeding, and rupture of the periosteum vessel. If there is a severe edema on the baby's head, these side effects can occur without much force; therefore, this method should not be used, or be used only under extreme caution.
# Unlike an adult's head, a baby's head is soft and the bone on top of the baby's head is not closed. Although a suction device is rarely placed on this area, doing so can cause brain damage.
# Because a suction device cannot be attached to a baby's face, this method cannot be used when a baby is face down in the birth canal.

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