The professionals caring for you might opt for a ventouse delivery, if the second stage of labour is not progressing as it should, if your baby is becoming distressed indicated by a drop in the heart rate or if you simply don’t have the energy to push your baby out.
What Is A Ventouse?
A ventouse is a vacuum device, rather like a sink plunger, that is used to assist a vaginal delivery. It is used as an alternative to forceps and to try to avoid a caesarean section.
The ones used in childbirth have handles to make it easier to pull the baby out.
A ventouse delivery can also be referred to as ‘vacuum extraction’ (VE).
How Is A Ventouse Used?
To be able to use a ventouse during your labour, the professionals will have to check a few things first:
1. Your cervix must be fully dilated – (10cms).
2. Baby’s head must be down and fully engaged, (low down in your pelvis).
3. The position of baby’s head must be checked so that the device can be fitted properly.
4. You need to be on your back with your legs in stirrups.
No anaesthetic is required for using a ventouse. The suction cup is inserted into the vagina and placed onto baby’s head. The suction pulls the skin from baby’s scalp into the cup.
The suction cup must be placed exactly right on baby’s head so that it stays flexed. Baby is then gently pulled down the birth canal. Once the head has been delivered (passed through the vagina) the professionals will remove the ventouse and allow you to deliver the rest of your baby by yourself.
Ventouse Delivery - Positive Aspects
There is not usually much internal bruising involved with using a ventouse and an episiotomy is not often required.
No anaesthetic is required and you still have an active role in delivering your baby.
Some feel it is preferable to a forceps delivery because there is less pressure applied to baby’s head, leaving less marks and bruising.
Ventouse Delivery - Negative Aspects
A ventouse will generally leave your baby with a temporary lump on its head, known as a chignon.
Baby can become distressed due to the strong suction on its head.
When I was delivering Freddy, he had the cord around his neck and was becoming distressed each time I had a contraction. I was very tired, so the doctor decided to use a ventouse to help me to get him out quicker.
They were just setting up the ventouse when I had a contraction and gave an almighty push, which moved Freddy’s head further down the birth canal. So they decided not to use the ventouse after all, and aided me with an episiotomy instead.
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