What is a Vacuum Extractor?
During vacuum extraction, a doctor may use a vacuum-like device to guide or pull the baby down and out of the birth canal. The medical device is known as a vacuum extractor. A suction cup is inserted and attached to the baby’s head. The medical device is pressurized to create suction so that the cup stays in place on the baby’s head. The suction cup is attached to a handle that the doctor holds in his or her hand. During a contraction, the doctor pulls on the handle to guide or pull the baby down the birth canal. A vacuum extraction delivery is a special type of delivery known as an operative vaginal delivery. Doctors who perform vacuum extraction deliveries require special training because of the potential dangers to the baby.
Dangers of Vacuum Extraction Delivery
Vacuum extractors can cause serious injuries to babies, particularly if the vacuum extractor is used improperly by the doctor or is used when it is not medically indicated. There are certain medical situations in which the doctor should abandon the use of the vacuum extractor. For example, if the suction cup pops off the baby’s head while the doctor is pulling on the handle, that may indicate that the baby is stuck in the birth canal. Continuing to pull on the baby’s head can cause serious injury.