Assisted birth is also called as instrumental birth or operative vaginal birth and the doctors do it by using either forceps or ventouse. Doctors recommend assisted birth during the second stage of labor when even though the baby is some way down the birth canal but for some reason is not able to progress further. There are many reasons why one can need an assisted birth –
• The baby is in breech position and the body of the baby is born and assisted birth is advised if there is a problem in delivering the baby’s head.
• There is a long labor pain due to which mother is exhausted and unable to push any longer.
• Baby has become distressed during labor
• The contractions are slow after some time and have become ineffective.
• Baby is premature which would require a quick birth.
Forceps look like “stainless steel salad servers” and are actually two spoon like instruments which are curved at the ends to cradle the head of the baby from each side. These are placed around the baby’s head and the doctor slowly pulls out the baby with each contraction while the mother pushes. There will marks of the forceps on each side of the baby’s head but there is nothing to worry about as these will soon fade away.
A ventouse is also called as vacuum extractor and has a cup attached to a suctions pump or vacuum pump and a handle to pull out the baby. The cup is fixed on the baby’s head and when the next contraction comes the mother will push and simultaneously doctor will pull out the baby. The baby’s head might have slight swelling due to this but it will disappear on its own.
It is believed that ventouse birth is easier and less distressing for the mother’s body but the forceps birth can be less distressing for the baby. In case of forceps birth, the doctors will do an episiotomy (cut through the back of the vagina) to enlarge the opening. If the mother had an epidural she won’t feel the pain otherwise the doctor will give a local anesthesia in the perineum. It is possible to carry out a ventouse birth without episiotomy. Though it takes longer for the mother to recover from an assisted delivery, it is a perfectly safe method under an experienced doctor and the mother can deliver the next baby normally.