Birth vacuum during childbirth: in which cases? What risks?

The expert: Professor Philippe Deruelle, gynaecologist

Forceps, spatula (or birthing spoon), suction cup… Sometimes thoseVaginal delivery requires a little help from the obstetrician-gynecologist. He then resorts to these extraction tools to help the child come into the world. In which cases is the suction cup used? The explanations of Pr Philippe Deruelle, obstetrician and gynecologist in Strasbourg.

What is a eutoke birth? Why use a suction cup, forceps or spatula (birth spoon)?

We speak of eutotic birth to define a classic physiological birth, vaginal, without complications and for which we do not use any instruments: forceps, suction cup, spatula… Vice versa, a birth is referred to as “dystocia” when there are complications. In some cases, this delivery requires the intervention of the obstetrician-gynecologist, who uses specific instruments to extract the child. « This is especially the case when the mother-to-be has lost sensation due to epidural anesthesia and is unable to perform labor. or that she’s too tired to push,” says Professor Philippe Deruelle. “We then use an instrument to help him get the baby out”.

When should an instrument such as B. the suction cup, used to deliver the baby?

At the time of birth, in the terminal stage, the child passes through the pelvis as it leaves the uterus and enters the mother’s vaginal canal. The latter therefore has to make several pressure attempts to expel the child. If this is not possible, the obstetrician-gynecologist can come and extract the child by suction cup. “It’s an instrument that is placed on top of the baby’s head and sucks to help pull it out”. So the suction cup is used when the birth is far advancedthat the water sac is broken, the cervix is ​​dilated and the baby’s head is used to come out.

To use the cup, the obstetrician-gynecologist needs to assess the position of the baby. If he feels that the child is cardiac healthy, has no signs of distress and is low enough to be mined using this methodhe places the suction cup, which is in the shape of a silicone cup, on the child’s skull. By sucking out the air, it then somehow sucks the baby’s head in order to expel it outside and make birth easier.

Why does the expectant mother sometimes have to give birth by caesarean section?

According to Prof. Philippe Deruelle,“The obstetric vacuum is the instrument with the best risk-benefit ratio, It is less traumatic than forceps for both mother and baby ». If the suction cup is unsuccessful or if the child’s health deteriorates, a caesarean section can always be initiated in an emergency. Indeed, the manual extraction techniques through the vaginal route never replace a cesarean section. And when the child is presented from the seat, the use of the suction cup is not possible. If childbirth becomes complicated, the expectant mother will still give birth by caesarean section.

What are the risks and consequences of vacuum extraction?

When an obstetrician-gynecologist uses a suction cup to pull the baby out, it can cause a hematoma on the skull or a lump (called a serosanguineous bump) that disappears in the days following delivery. “However, it remains less traumatic than tweezers, which can injure the child’s face and leave marks. For the mother, this increases the risk of perineal tears and episiotomy, in some cases “, says the specialist.

Having no guilt

So whether the mother should use the cup is decided at the last moment, shortly before the birth of the child. This is not expected and some mothers may object to the use of an instrument. But there is no guilt: the help of a doctor during a sometimes long and particularly tiring labor does not in any way detract from the merit! This boost also often avoids a cesarean section. As for the increased risk of rupture or episiotomy, it is very well attended to by the medical teams in the maternity hospitals, especially to reduce pain through the prescription of analgesics and appropriate local care.

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