Assisted Delivery: Help During Birth

During the end of pregnancy, you may feel anxious about your baby’s delivery.  In most instances, the onset of labour leads to a successful delivery. However, some women may need help in giving birth. This procedure is known as assisted delivery. Midwives are usually trained to recognize and intervene if the progress of your labour has difficulties.  Below are some important issues you could learn about the procedure.   

What is Assisted or Instrumental Delivery?

 Assisted delivery refers to the process of giving birth with the help of a suction cup or forceps.  It is used during vaginal birth.

Types of Assisted Birth

There are two common methods of assisted birth. They include:

  • Vacuum delivery- Your doctor attaches a vacuum extractor to your baby’s head. While you’re pushing, the doctor gently pulls to enhance delivery. The device can help turn your baby’s position as well if he’s breech.
  • Forceps delivery– Forceps are metal devices resembling curved spoons.  They are usually placed around your baby’s head and are joined together at their handles. While you’re pushing, they enhance delivery of your baby.

Why Would One Need Assisted Delivery?

 Medical practitioners may decide to use assisted delivery for the following reasons:

  • If a mother experiences an epidural
  • The heart rate of your baby shows that he may not be coping with the labour process.
  • Your baby does not move through the birth canal when you’re pushing
  • It’s difficult for you to push the baby during labour

What to Expect After the Procedure

  • You may feel a bit sore or bruised. When you sit down or go to the toilet, your stitches may hurt.
  • It may take some time for your bladder to function properly, especially if you had an epidural.
  • After vacuum delivery, your baby’s head may have a temporary swelling. It may also cause some bleeding between membranous layers of your baby’s head. However, the swelling and bleeding resolve after sometime and generally do not need treatment.
  • Forceps may leave some small marks on your baby’s face. You don’t need to worry because they disappear in about 2 days.

A few mums may be troubled by these experiences.  If you feel that way, talk to your doctor to have a better understanding of what happened during the procedure. Also, remember that if you feel pain, you may need pain relief from your doctor. 

Will It Occur Next Time?

 Assisted birth occurs because of specific reasons associated with your pregnancy and labour. It doesn’t mean that you will have an assisted delivery next time.


# Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

# Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: beingtheparent, nhs, webmd

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