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Nine Months : Assisted Delivery

What is an assisted delivery?

Sometimes the baby may need to be assisted or helped out of the vagina through the use of forceps or vacuum extraction (called Ventouse). This is called assisted delivery.

When is it required?

* The contractions are not strong enough to push the baby out.

* The baby has a big head.

* The baby is showing signs of distress probably due to a prolonged labour.

* You are too exhausted to push anymore.

* Your baby is lying in an awkward position or is breech.

* Your baby is premature and it is important to prevent his head from pressure in the birth canal.

Forceps may be used only after the cervix has dilated fully and the baby's head is engaged whereas suction(vacuum extraction) may be used earlier even before full dilation is achieved.

How is an assisted delivery carried out?

* If you haven't had an epidural, a local anaesthetic will be injected in your pelvic floor. Even if you've taken an epidural, ensure that a top up is not necessary as the procedure of assisted delivery can be quite uncomfortable.

* Your legs may be spread out wide and raised in stirrups.

* An episiotomy will be performed, if required. (It is quite common in forceps delivery)

* If using forceps, they will be positioned carefully on either side of the baby's head by the doctor. You will be asked to push and with each push, the baby will be pulled out gently from the birth canal.

* If using vacuum, a small, shallow metal or rubber cup is fitted to the top of the baby's head by suction. As you push, baby will be gently pulled out of the birth canal.

* Once the head has been delivered (by forceps or vacuum), the rest of the body is delivered naturally.

* You will be stitched up if you had an episiotomy.

* Your partner may be present throughout the procedure if you wish.

What are the effects on my baby and me?

* If forceps were used, there may be small bruises on either side of the baby's head.

* If vacuum cup was used, there might be a swelling or a bruise on the baby's head.

* All bruises and swelling will subside in a few days.

* If you had an episiotomy, you may be feeling quite sore and uncomfortable at the point of the stitches.

* Click here for tips on relieving soreness.

* Your legs may be aching after being raised in stirrups in an awkward position.

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