Vacuum extraction

Vacuum extraction Procedures & Risks

Vacuum extraction is a procedure that sometimes becomes necessary in the case of vaginal childbirth.

In this particular procedure:

1. A small, soft cup is applied (which is a vacuum).

2. This cup is attached to the baby’s head.

3. The pressure created through this vacuum to guide the baby out of the vaginal area. 

This procedure is a “hands-on” process and it entails constant watch and is done while the mother is going through contractions. 

This medical procedure is mostly considered during the second stage of the labour when your pushing is not causing the labour to progress. However, that is not to say that this form of procedure is complete without its complications. For C section might be required in case this procedure doesn’t work as planned.

What is the reason for this procedure

This procedure is done when your cervical region is fully dilated and still your push is not progressing the labour at all. The reasons that this procedure is opted for are the following: 

  • If your push isn’t progressing the labour even after several hours. This might happen due to either obstruction or lack of smoothness in the birthing canal.

  • There is an issue with your baby’s heartbeat and immediate delivery is necessary.

  • In case you have a health concern, then too, it is required that the delivery process is completed in a more immediate fashion.

When is this procedure not recommended?

The procedure is not recommended in cases where:

  • Your baby is premature

  • If your baby has gone through a foetal scalp sampling

  • If your baby has a bone-related condition.

  • The baby hasn’t moved beyond the mid of the birthing canal. 

  • The baby’s head position is not known

  • The arms, shoulder or buttons of the baby are what comes out first. 

  • If your pelvis is a bit too thin to handle the baby. 

Preparation for this procedure

  • First, the doctor is going to recommend that the labour is progressed in its natural fashion, for it is always a chance that the labour is going to go alright. 

  • You can be given intravenous injection so that you do not have much discomfort. 

  • There can be a case where you might have to go through C section if it is too risky.

  • Before the procedure, a catheter is going to be used in order to empty your bladder. 

  • An episiotomy can also be performed to ease the delivery.

During and after the procedure

During the procedure:

  • You will lie on your back with your spread.

  • You can then hold the handles of the bed for support.

  • A vacuum cup will be inserted into your vagina. 

  • A suction will be created through this tube

  • With each contraction, this suction will increase its pressure.

  • In between the contractions, the suction will be reduced.

  • Once the baby’s head is reached the suctions will grasp their head, the baby will be gently guided out of the birthing canal.

After the procedure:

  • Your injuries (if any) will be examined by the doctor and immediate medical attention shall be given to you.

  • All the tears and incision will be repaired.

  • The baby’s vitals will then be monitored properly.

After the procedure, you will be sent home, the rest of healing will go on in your home. To promote this healing, you should.

  • You might want to soothe the wound. 

  • Make sure that your sit down carefully.

  • Make sure that you use a clean pad when you are relieving yourself.

  • Use warm water in order to prevent stings while you are urinating. 

What are the risks of this procedure?

  • Pain in the perineum

  • There can be some wounds in the lower genital tract

  • You might suffer from short-term urinary incontinence. 

  • There also can be anaemic conditions.

  • Your muscles that support your pelvic organs might weaken.


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Dr. Madhu Goel

Senior Gynecologist and a Senior Consultant

Dr. Madhu Goel is a well renowned senior gynaecologist and a senior consultant at Fortis La femme, New Delhi. She runs a private consultation in Goel’s surgery and Gynea centre and prior to being associated with Fortis; she was a consultant a Rockland Hospital.