Vacuum Birth

A vacuum birth is one where a special device is used to assist the baby in a birth canal. The baby is in the process of being delivered and for one reason or another labor does not progress. The doctor may decide an assisted delivery is needed to help the baby. The vacuum extraction is where a special vacuum with a cup is used. The cup is placed on the baby's head and the vacuum pulls the baby through the birth canal. Some studies have shown that this procedure may increase the risk of injury to either the baby or the mother. The procedure also requires medical expertise because wrong decisions can also lead to injuries. Possible injuries include bruises to the scalp, nerve damage, skull fracture, and bleeding. The risk of injury during a vacuum birth is higher than a vaginal birth and safety to mother and baby is heavily dependent on the physician's knowledge and skill.

Fast Facts

  • 10% of births are completed using a vacuum extraction
  • In 85% of vacuum births delivery happens in less than 4 vacuum pulls
  • Vacuum extractions are rising as forceps assisted deliveries decline

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