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Vacuum-assisted deliveries have risks to consider

If you've had a baby or are going to have one, you know that one of the potentially helpful methods used during delivery is called vacuum assistance. With vacuum-assisted deliveries, your baby is gently guided out of the birth canal. This can prevent stalling or issues with your child getting stuck or lodged inside. It's meant to be a way to prevent issues with your child's health caused by delayed delivery.

So what is the vacuum like? This extractor has a small, soft cup that attaches to the baby's head with suction. There are some risks with this kind of delivery, so it's important to know them before consenting.

Regardless of the kind of delivery you have, you have a risk of complications. However, your baby may suffer some injuries with vacuum-assisted delivery. For instance, superficial scalp wounds are generally common. Swelling in the area of suction would be expected. Discoloration can also occur. In any case, the side effects above should go away within a few days following delivery.

A subgaleal hematoma is a serious form of bleeding you should look for. It happens when blood gathers under the scalp, putting pressure on the skull. This can take place if the suction used during delivery wasn't strong enough. It's also considered to be the most serious of all complications possible in a vacuum-assisted surgery. Today, the use of softer, plastic suction cups have reduced the likelihood of this injury occurring. If it does happen, it can be a life-threatening condition, so it's important that your doctor recognizes it immediately.

Source: Healthline, "Vacuum-Assisted Delivery: Do You Know the Risks?," accessed April 20, 2016

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