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 (involuntary urination or defecation)
  • 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 drop lower in the pelvis (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
  • A higher risk of getting the baby’s shoulder stuck after the head has been delivered, which could lead to an injury to the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand (brachial plexus), or a collarbone fracture
  • Skull fracture
  • Bleeding within the skull

Serious infant injuries after a vacuum extraction are rare.

July 03, 2015