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Possible problems associated with vacuum assisted deliveries

When a woman delivers a baby in Florida, a doctor may have to perform a procedure to assist with vaginal delivery. Frequently, doctors use either forceps or a vacuum extractor in these circumstances. Some physicians might have preferences based on their experiences, but there are advantages and disadvantages that should be considered as well.

A physician might choose to use a vacuum extractor instead of forceps because less anesthesia is usually needed and less damage to a mother's soft tissue may result. However, there are downsides associated with vacuum deliveries. First, vacuum extraction should not be used on preterm infants because bleeding could occur in the brain if the baby has had fewer than 34 weeks of gestation. Vacuum delivery may also take longer than a delivery with forceps because traction from the vacuum can only be used during contractions, and more of the mother's participation is required with a vacuum. A baby's head might swell when labor takes longer, which can make it difficult to properly attach a vacuum cup to a child's head.

There is risk of bleeding inside a baby's skull when vacuum extraction is used. While this intracranial hemorrhaging is rare, it only happens in vacuum deliveries because of the pressure on a baby's head caused by the suction cup. In addition to other disadvantages, multiple trials have indicated that vacuum assisted delivery is slightly less successful than when using forceps.

When selecting an obstetrician, expecting parents believe their chosen physician will look out for the best interests of a mother and baby and use the same standard of care other medical professionals exhibit. If this is not the case, a medical malpractice suit may be warranted to help recover expenses after a mother or baby suffers injuries.

Source: Healthline, "Forceps Versus Vacuum", March 15, 2012

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