If you or your partner is pregnant and preparing for labor and delivery, you will want to educate yourself about the various scenarios that may happen so that you are prepared to make fast decisions if you need to do so for the health of the mother or baby. One of the things that can happen is that a baby may have difficulty completing their exit from the birth canal. When this happens, some doctors recommend the use of other tools to help pull the baby out. This is called an assisted vaginal delivery.

As explained by the American Pregnancy Association, a mother’s exhaustion or reduced ability to push due to having had an epidural are two reasons that may lead a doctor to recommend assistance. A baby that displays a lack of oxygen delivery to it is another.

One of the items used to assist is a type of vacuum extractor that suctions the baby’s head and the other is a set of forceps that literally clamp and pull the baby out by the head. With either tool, a baby may be bruised. Other potential results include facial nerve damage or blisters on the head. The level of force applied with a suction or forceps should be only as much as is needed to deliver the baby.

If you would like to learn more about the situations that may warrant assistance during a vaginal birth and what parents should be aware of in these situations, please feel free to visit the assisted delivery page of our Pennsylvania medical malpractice and birth injury website.