Understand what an assisted delivery is

Assisted delivery is a procedure in which obstetric forceps or a vacuum device are used to help deliver your baby, towards the end of the second stage of labour. It's different from assisted labour, (in which you are given treatment to start off your labour or to increase the power and frequency of contractions).

Episiotomy

The area between your vagina and anus is called the perineum. This area gently stretches as your baby's head crowns. An episiotomy is a surgical cut of the perineum to increase the vaginal opening. It is done if your baby needs to be born quickly and your vagina area is tight.

It used to be thought that an episiotomy would reduce the risk of tearing or incontinence. However, it is now known that it can create difficulty in a woman's recovery and should only be done when absolutely necessary, not routinely.

Forceps or vacuum delivery

This is done when your baby is in the vagina during the later stages of birthing but your baby is unable to progress and exit the vagina to be born. This may occur if you are too exhausted and feel unable to continue pushing, or your baby is distressed and needs to be delivered quickly.

Forceps are curved metal tongs that are inserted into your vagina and go around your baby's head. During a contraction you will push and your doctor will pull to deliver your baby.

A ventouse is like a large suction cup that is placed on your baby's head and is used is a similar way to forceps to deliver your baby. A forceps or ventouse delivery should only be used in an emergency because as with any intervention, there can be consequences for you and your baby. The use of forceps is going to cause some bruising on your baby's head. There is a high risk of tearing the perineum and an increased risk of episiotomy, and if unsuccessful, you will need a caesarean section.

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