A vacuum extraction poses a risk of injury for both mother and baby.
Possible risks to you include:
- Pain in the perineum — the tissue between your vagina and your anus — after delivery
- Lower genital tract tears and wounds
- Short-term difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder
- Short-term or long-term urinary or fecal incontinence
- Anemia — a condition in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues — due to blood loss during delivery
- Weakening of the muscles and ligaments supporting your pelvic organs, causing pelvic organs to slip out of place (pelvic organ prolapse)
While most of these risks are also associated with vaginal deliveries in general, they're more likely with a vacuum extraction.
If your health care provider does an episiotomy — an incision in the tissue between your vagina and your anus that can help ease the delivery of your baby — you're also at risk of postpartum bleeding and infection.
Possible risks to your baby include:
- Scalp wounds
- An injury to the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand (brachial plexus)
- Collarbone fracture
- Skull fracture
- Bleeding within the skull
Serious infant injuries after a vacuum extraction are rare.
July 18, 2012
- Wegner ES, et al. Operative vaginal delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Greenberg J. Procedure for vacuum assisted operative vaginal delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=46. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010:199.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 17. Operative vaginal delivery. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2000;95:1. Reaffirmed 2009.
- Heart disorders in pregnancy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec18/ch261/ch261i.html. Accessed May 11, 2012.
- Robinson JN. Approach to episiotomy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 4, 2012.
- Lavender. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND&pt=100&id=838&ds=&name=LAVENDER&lang=0&searchid=34422770. Accessed May 2, 2012.
- Sheikhan F, et al. Episiotomy pain relief: Use of Lavender oil essence in primiparous Iranian women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012;18:66.
- Ali UA, et al. Vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2009;2:5.
- Hook CD, et al. Vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery. American Family Physician. 2008;78:953.
- Johnson JH, et al. Immediate neonatal and maternal effects of forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery. Obstetrics and Gyencology. 2004;103:513.
- DeCherney AH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology.10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=9. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed April 26, 2012.
- You and your baby: Prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Washington, D.C.: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2011;1.
- Lowerdmilk DL, et al. Maternity & Women's Health Care. 10th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:470.
- Berens P. Overview of postpartum care. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.
- Lewicky-Gaupp C, et al. Fecal incontinence related to pregnancy and vaginal delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.
- Brubaker L. Patient information: Pelvic floor muscle exercises. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 3, 2012.