Vacuum Extraction Delivery: What Expecting Mothers Need to Know

February 18, 2021 by Yale Spector

Vacuum Extraction Delivery: What Expecting Mothers Need to KnowHaving a child is one of the most exciting and nervewracking events in a person’s life. When complications arise during labor, sometimes a doctor may need to use different tools or devices to ensure safe delivery. Common medical techniques used to assist a woman in complicated labor include a process called vacuum extraction delivery.

In the hands of an experienced doctor, this method ensures a quick and injury-free birth. However, when not performed correctly, this procedure can cause serious and sometimes lasting injuries to both mother and newborn.

The birth injury attorneys of Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers are sharing everything an expectant mother needs to know about a vacuum extraction delivery and its risks.  


What Is a Vaccum Extractor and When Is it Needed?

A vacuum extractor, also known as a ventouse-assisted delivery, is a device that assists doctors and medical professionals in helping guide a newborn through the birth canal. This tool uses a small plastic or metal cup that is placed on a baby’s head during delivery. During a contraction, the doctor will use a hand pump or electric compressor to create enough suction to assist in pulling the baby out of the birth canal to help with childbirth. The doctor will recommend a vacuum extraction delivery if:


  • Labor stops progressing after two hours.
  • The baby is in a breech position.
  • The baby’s heart rate becomes abnormal.
  • The baby’s shoulders are too wide to pass through the birth canal.
  • The mother becomes exhausted or has a sudden medical issue.


What Are the Different Types of Vaccum Extractors?

There are three different types of vacuum extractors, with each one functioning differently. These include:


  • Metal cups – this mushroom-shaped metal cup has a centrally attached chain that connects the cup to a detachable handle that is used to apply traction. An electrical suction device is then attached to the metal cup. This vacuum extractor has the highest success rate, but the metal can make applications uncomfortable and can increase the risk of scalp injuries. 
  • Soft cups – soft cups are bell- or funnel-shaped and can be used with a manual vacuum pump or an electric suction device. They result in fewer fetal scalp injuries but have a higher failure rate. 
  • M-cup – the newest type of cup, the m-cup has a soft sidewall that minimizes infant head trauma. It combines the advantages of metal and soft cups. 


Maternal and Fetal Risks

When used correctly, vacuum extraction has a 95% success rate. But, if negligent use of a vacuum extractor is exhibited, major birth defects and injuries can occur. Some examples of negligence include:


  • A deviation from the standard of care. This could be not knowing the position of the baby’s head, the condition of the baby’s bones, the baby is too large to fit through the birth canal, or the baby is in the breech position. 
  • Failure to perform a C-section instead of vacuum extraction. 


As we mentioned above, many complications can arise from the use of a vacuum extractor. The vacuum extraction delivery risks for babies include:


  • Hemorrhaging and hematoma in the brain, head, and neck
  • Swelling of soft tissues on a baby’s head and scalp
  • Cranial nerve injuries
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Bone injuries
  • Bumps, bruising, and wounds on the face, head, or shoulders
  • Developmental delays
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Klumpke’s palsy
  • Erb’s palsy

Vacuum extraction delivery risks for mother’s include:


  • Genital tearing
  • Bruising or lacerations to the vagina
  • Post-partum problems with urinating or passing a bowel movement
  • Persistent post-partum pain
  • Anemia 

Why Choose Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers?

If you suspect your infant has been negatively impacted and been diagnosed with a birth injury as a result of vacuum extraction, contact our birth injury attorneys today. We can help you build a strong case and get you and your child the support and compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 443-505-7343 for a free consultation and we promise to advocate for what’s rightfully yours.