What is a Vacuum Extraction Complication?
Vacuum extraction is the use of a suction instrument to help deliver the baby. This instrument uses suction and is applied to the crown of the baby’s head to help pull the newborn from the birth canal.
When a mother is unable to continue the delivery process, vacuum-assisted delivery may be suggested. Vacuum extractions during birth can help deliver your baby, but the instrument can also cause your newborn to suffer birth injuries.
When Vacuum Extractions Are Used
Vacuum extractions may be used for the following reasons:
- The child’s heart beat is difficult to trace
- The second stage of labor is longer than normal
- There is no progression in the second stage of labor
- Maternal exhaustion
Before this procedure is used, parents should be advised about vacuum extraction complications. These complications can affect both the mother and the newborn.
Effects of Vacuum Extraction Complications
There are two kinds of vacuum cups. One is a metal-cup vacuum with a mechanical or electrical suction device attached to the end. The second is a similar device called the soft-cup vacuum.
According to the AAFP, the soft-cup vacuum “causes fewer neonatal scalp injuries. However these instruments have a higher failure rate.”
If used improperly, vacuum extraction tools can cause birth complications and birth injuries. For example, they can cause subgaleal hemorrhaging (inner skull bleeding), which occurs in one of every 26 vacuum-assisted deliveries, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). Birth injuries can also cause your child to develop cerebral palsy.
Other common effects of vacuum extraction complications include:
- Scalp trauma
- Bleeding in the brain
- Skull damage or injuries
These complications can cause families long-term emotional and financial stress as they work to care for a child with a brain injury.
Vacuum Extractors and Medical Negligence
When vacuum extraction complications cause head trauma to the baby, it is often considered medical negligence. Doctors know the risks of vacuum extractions before they use them, so they may be responsible for injuries the vacuums may cause.
However, in the confusion and excitement of birth, it’s not always easy to know if vacuum extraction complications occurred. A birth injury lawyer can help determine if improper or negligent medical care caused harm.