Vacuum delivery complications and risks

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

While many New York couples experience normal natural births, others experience complications that could put both mother and child at risk. In these situations, a doctor may utilize a vacuum device to assist the mother with the difficult delivery. While vacuum deliveries have a number of advantages, including less need for anesthesia and a reduced risk of soft tissue injuries for the mother, vacuum extractions do have certain risks associated with them when compared to forceps.

While vacuum extractions may be considered safer for the mother over forceps, there is the risk that the delivery could take much longer. This is because the vacuum suction can only be used during contractions whereas forceps can be used without participation from the mother. Additionally, vacuums can only be used on babies that are full-term; using a vacuum on a child that is not at 34 weeks of gestation could cause serious damage.

Further, there are two major complications that could occur during delivery. The first of these is that, during the natural swelling of the baby’s head during labor, the suction cup could become dislodged. This could also happen if the cup is not properly placed on the baby’s head. Second, the suction of the vacuum could result in intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding inside the baby’s skull. Though this is rare, any bleeding could result in serious injuries to the child and increased medical costs.

If a doctor causes a birth injury when using a vacuum to assist with a delivery, the family may have the grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if they can provide proof that their doctor was negligent. An attorney may assist the family by providing evidence that the vacuum extraction was not properly performed or was performed on a child who was too young.

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