Childbirth is a beautiful process, but it also comes with a lot of risks and potential complications. Sometimes, a baby can get stuck inside of the birth canal which leads doctors to have to use more force in order to get them out. Doctors can use forceps or a vacuum to help delivery the baby, but both of these devices come with their own pros and cons and can lead to birth injuries. Here are some of the pros and cons of a forceps vs. vacuum delivery.
Pros: The vacuum option is more common than using forceps. This is because it normally doesn’t require as much anesthesia or pain medications for its use. This option has been shown to be less risky for both the child and the mother.
Cons: Although it’s the more common option, the failure rate is higher than that of a forceps extraction. Using a vacuum can increase the risk of certain complications such as retinal hemorrhage and cephalhematoma (excess blood between skull and tissue of the child’s head). If a vacuum delivery fails, there is a higher chance that a C-section will have to take place which also increases risks of complications.
Pros: A forceps delivery has been shown to be more successful than a vacuum. Using the forceps lowers the risk of cephalohematoma when compared to a vacuum delivery. Doctors who have been classically trained or those who have been doctors for a while will generally use this method over the vacuum.
Cons: Using a forceps increases the risk of vaginal tears during the birth process. While doctors can repair tears, it causes the mother to have a longer recovery time than normal. Forceps delivery poses a greater risk for damaging the baby’s facial nerves. The risk of retinal hemorrhage and cephalhematoma are also present with this option as well.
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