Understanding the Dangers of Vacuum Extraction

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An extended labor can prove dangerous to both the baby and the mother.

If a doctor feels that labor is extending for too long, various tools can be used to assist the delivery process. It is vital that a doctor makes the decision to employ assistive techniques at the right time, as any delay can cause serious complications such as a birth injury.

Vacuum Extraction Technique

One of the most common assistive tools used by physicians is vacuum extraction. The technique involves the use of a cup like tool, which is placed on the head of the infant, and then a gentle suction is applied with the help of an attached vacuum to guide the baby through the birth canal. The technique is often used as an alternative to cesarean section. Many doctors will make the decision to use vacuum extraction after evaluating all options, as vacuum extraction can be risky and may lead to several complications and birth injuries.

Risks Associated With Vacuum Extraction

According to medical experts, there are certain situations in which vacuum extraction should never be employed.

  • Baby has a medical condition that may weaken the bones.
  • Before 34 weeks of pregnancy.
  • The baby is positioned buttocks, arms, or shoulders first.
  • The baby’s head has not yet reached half way through the birth canal.
  • The mother’s pelvis is irregularly shaped or is not large enough for the baby to pass through.

Risks to the Mother

If a doctor chooses to use vacuum extraction in spite of the inherent risks, it can lead to the following complications for the mother:

  • intense pain in mother’s perineum
  • incontinence
  • difficulty in urination
  • wounds or tears in the genital tract
  • anaemia caused by excessive bleeding during delivery
  • pelvic organ prolapse

Risks to the Baby

The baby may suffer the following injuries:

  • fractured collarbone because of forced movement through the birth canal
  • brachial plexus, an injury to the group of nerves running between shoulders and hands, and spine and arms
  • skull fractures
  • bleeding inside the skull

Any of these birth injuries can have life altering consequences for a child, rendering the child permanently disabled. A physician will consider all risks involved for the mother and the baby before making a decision to use vacuum extraction.

If a physician decides to use vacuum extraction and in the process causes an injury to the mother or baby, the physician may be held liable for the resulting losses. Such cases are often complicated and you may need the services of a highly competent birth injury lawyers to help you. Call Zevan and Davidson at (314) 588-7200 for a case evaluation.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.


Contact Zevan Davidson Roman today.

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