Forceps – are often described as looking like stainless steel salad servers. They are quite large and the curved ends are called blades.
Reasons for Forceps Use
- Delayed second stage. What does this mean? Most hospital policy allows for about 2 hours second stage, then, if there is not much progress, (according to hospital policy) forceps will be considered.
- Position of baby – eg. If baby is in a posterior position then forceps may be used to rotate the head
- If the woman has an epidural, and therefore no urge to push.
- Foetal distress – i.e. baby’s heart rate drops and/or there is a lot of meconium, it is necessary for baby to be born quickly.
- Vaginal breech birth – for the aftercoming head
- Maternal exhaustion – i.e. Mum has no energy left for pushing effectively.
- Sometimes used where pushing would be detrimental to the mothers health, e.g. a heart condition or very high blood pressure.
How Are They Used?
- The cervix needs to be fully dilated
- Most women have an epidural. Most women would want an epidural.
- Bladder should be empty. Sometimes an in/out catheter will be used or she may already have an epidural and therefore an indwelling catheter.
- The woman is on her back, in the lithotomy position with her legs in stirrups.
- Episiotomy is almost routine
- There are 2 blades which are inserted one at a time and placed around each side of baby’s head. The Dr. then interlocks the handles.
- With the next contraction the woman is encouraged to push and at the same time the Dr. exerts pressure (pulls) on the handles or rotates the baby’s head.
- Once the head has been delivered the forceps are removed and the woman can push the rest of her baby out.
VENTOUSE -also called Vacuum extractor and suction cap (yes, awful language!). The cap is made of silicone. It fits onto the baby’s head rather like a skull cap. Once the cap has been positioned, air is sucked out of it by means of a vacuum device.
Reason for Ventouse Use – same as for forceps. It takes a few minutes to apply enough suction to ensure that the cap is firmly attached.
HOW ARE THEY USED – Probably the main difference is that a woman does not necessarily need to have an epidural with the Ventouse. In the hands of a skilled doctor, she should also be able to avoid an episiotomy