Our Service For You


Medical Negligence
Operative (Assisted) Vaginal Delivery

Operative (Assisted) Vaginal Delivery

During a vaginal delivery, it may be necessary for the medical team to manually assist a mother give birth to her baby. This can be done either by way of forceps or vacuum extraction. However, if the appropriate steps are not taken to reduce the risks, a new mother could find herself with a number of complications in particular, anal sphincter injury and faecal incontinence.

What is Operative Vaginal Delivery?

Operative vaginal delivery, sometimes known as an 'assisted birth', is when special instruments are used to help deliver a baby. This does not occur as a matter of routine, for a midwife or obstetrician will only deem an assisted birth necessary if:-

  • The baby needs to be delivered quickly usually because either mother or baby are in distress;
  • The baby is not moving out of the birth canal;
  • The baby is stuck behind the mother's pubic bone;
  • A prolonged second stage of labour.

Used in the final stages of delivery, operative vaginal delivery is meant to replicate the natural spontaneity of birth. Thus after a woman has been given adequate pain relief and her bladder emptied, the medical team will wait until a contraction before using instruments to gently assist the baby from the vagina.

There are two instruments that may be employed during operative vaginal delivery, during which either one or both can be used:-

1. Forceps
Forceps consist of two metal tongs that are curved to fit around the baby's head. When a woman has a contraction, the obstetrician will gently pull the handle of the forceps, easing the baby out. The type of forceps used will be determined by the baby's position.

2. Vacuum Extraction (Ventouse)
A vacuum extractor or ventouse uses suction as a means of assistance. A cup (which can either be hard or soft, metal or plastic) is attached to the top of the baby's head. This cup is connected to a suction device, which once switched on will again gently pull the baby from the vagina.

Reducing the Risks of Operative Vaginal Delivery

The main risk of operative vaginal delivery is a perineal tear, which can potentially be very extensive. Indeed, operative vaginal delivery is known to be a significant factor in the number of birth-related sphincter anal injuries. This in turn will lead to faecal incontinence in up to 50% of women.

Midline episiotomy was once thought to reduce the risk of perineal trauma during birth. Thus it was common for a woman to be deliberately cut before an assisted birth was performed. However, this method has been reviewed, and it is now believed a standard episiotomy can have a detrimental affect as it can actually increase the chance of vaginal tears.

Alternatively, it is now widely accepted that instead a 'mediolateral episiotomy' should be carried out, in which the cut made diagonally rather than straight down. Research shows that this type of episiotomy reduces the chance of perineal tears during both vacuum extraction and forceps delivery, helping to protect a woman from the risks of operative vaginal delivery.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

Bookmark This Article?

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

Free enquiry

 


Free Claim Enquiry

Complete a short enquiry form and we will contact you.

Free enquiry

*

Testimonials

"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

» Read More Medical Negligence Testimonials?

*
Helping Clients throughout England and Wales


contact us

*

Free Medical Negligence Guide

'7 Questions You Must Ask Before Choosing A Medical Negligence Solicitor'

Free download

*