The birth of a baby should be a time of celebration and happiness. All too often, it can be a time of sadness as women and babies are injured during childbirth. Doctors often use devices, such as vacuums, to assist in the delivery of a child. Healthcare professionals who use vacuum assisted delivery devices must be aware of the proper use of the device to avoid life-threatening complications. Babies can suffer brain bleeds from vacuum assisted delivery.
A vacuum device used to deliver a baby is essentially a rubber cup that is placed on the baby’s head. Suction is used to created traction and to aid the doctor in pulling the baby out of the birthing canal. Because a baby’s head is so fragile and susceptible to injury, it is critical that the cup is placed in the right location. Incorrect placement can result in significant and permanent brain damage. The doctor should not twist the head or neck while using the vacuum. Also, the doctor should not pull too hard, for too long, or make too many attempts to use the vacuum after the cup has popped off.
Bleeding around the Baby’s Brain can occur in a Vacuum Assisted Delivery
Intracranial hemorrhage, or bleeding around the baby’s brain is known complication of vacuum assisted delivery. As described above, the vacuum uses traction to attach to the baby’s head and pull the baby out. This traction can injure the baby’s veins and cause bleeding around the baby's brain. If enough blood accumulates, the brain can be compressed depriving the brain tissue of oxygen.
Blood under the Baby’s Skin or Scalp can occur in a Vacuum Assisted Delivery
Vacuum extractors or devices can also cause a hematoma, a collection of blood under the skin (hematoma). Two types of hematoma can result from vacuum-assisted deliveries.
- Cephalohematoma - blood under the fibrous covering of the skull. Blood may take time to dissolve. Most often, no special therapy is required to treat an infant with cephalohematoma.
- Subgaleal hematoma – a more serious form of bleeding where the blood accumulates under the scalp. Traction can pull the scalp and the layer of tissue just under the scalp away from the skull injuring the veins below.
The subgaleal space is large, and a large amount of fetal blood can be lost into this space. Subgaleal hematomas are dangerous for babies given the amount of blood loss that is possible.
Did your Baby Suffer a Brain Bleed from a Vacuum Assisted Delivery?
If your child was born using a vacuum delivery device and sustained permanent damage, contact Chelsie King Garza. Ms. Garza has years of experience in handling vacuum assisted delivery cases.