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Potential Dangers of Vacuum Extraction Delivery

Michael Bereston

When a newborn becomes stuck in the birth canal, doctors and nurses assisting with the delivery will need to make an important decision regarding how to proceed. Your doctor should discuss the options available for delivery which may include vacuum extraction, forceps or a cesarean section.

A typical vacuum extractor used for delivery includes a soft suction cup with a handle and pump. The suction cup is attached to the baby’s head. With a contraction, the mom will push and the doctor will apply suction in at attempt to guide the baby out of the birth canal. The amount and time of applied suction will depend on the position of the baby, tolerance of the procedure by mom and baby and progress made.

When done correctly, vacuum extraction-assisted birth can be quick, and safe for the mother and child. When a medical provider does not take the proper care and precautions before and during the use of a vacuum extractor, the newborn child could suffer a serious birth injury.

There are two birth injuries commonly associated with vacuum extractor misuse:

  • Brain injury: There are also times when the vacuum extractor may cause bruising, lacerations, bleeding and fractures of the baby’s skull which could lead to permanent brain injury.
  • Brachial plexus injury: If a baby’s head is pulled too strongly while the rest of its body remains in place, it can tear or stretch the nerves running along the neck. When a nerve is damaged severely, it can cause the child to suffer from brachial plexus or Erb’s palsy, which may result in a lifelong debilitation of one or both arms.

Find out all the ways we can help you with a vacuum extraction birth injury claim. Call (410) 220-6581 or contact us online.

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Mother kissing her baby's feet