What is Instrumental Delivery?
Instrumental delivery or assisted birth is when your baby needs help to be born with instruments that attach to her head. It’s also called an instrumental, or operative vaginal birth. About one birth in eight is assisted.
Assisted births are often needed when labour has been long and tiring, as it can be about helping the mum as well as the baby. A long slow labour is more likely if you’re expecting your first baby. Based on statistics for England, about one in five first-time mums has an assisted birth compared with one in 14 mums who have had a baby before.
The option of assisted birth helps many first-time mums to achieve a vaginal birth, and puts them in a better position to have a straightforward birth for their next baby than if they’d had a caesarean.
What are forceps and ventouse?
Forceps and ventouse are the instruments used for an assisted birth.
Assisted delivery (forceps or ventouse)Which instrument is used depends on how close you are to your due date, the position she is in, and how difficult your doctor thinks the birth is going to be.
Forceps look a bit like two stainless steel salad servers that fit together. There is a handle at one end, and the other end has two curves which cradle your baby’s head.
The ventouse (vacuum extractor), has a cup attached to a suction device, and a handle to pull on. The cup fits on top and towards the back of your baby’s head, and a vacuum is created within the cup. The cup is made of soft or semi-rigid plastic, or metal. The vacuum is created by a hand-held pump or a suction machine.
Ventouse is not recommended if: