There are a number of situations where vacuum assisted delivery is not safeVacuum extraction may not be safe in the event of any of the following:
- You're less than 34 weeks pregnant
- Your baby has previously had blood taken from his or her scalp (fetal scalp sampling)
- Your baby has a condition that affects the strength of his or her bones or a bleeding disorder
- Your baby's head hasn't yet moved down far enough in the birth canal
- The position of your baby's head isn't known
- Your has entered the birth canal feet first
- Your baby may be too large to fit through the pelvis
Vacuum extraction can pose significant risk to the babyPossible risks to your baby include:
- Scalp wounds
- An injury to the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand (brachial plexus)
- Collarbone fracture
- Skull fracture
- Bleeding within the skull or a subgaleal hemorrhage
- Intracranial hemorrhage
Recommendations from the FDA regarding vacuum assisted deliveryBased upon research conducted and analyzing past adverse events, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a number of recommendations with respect to vacuum assisted deliveries. Those recommendations include:
- The healthcare professional using the vacuum should be well versed in their use, and aware of the indications, contraindications and precautions with use of the vacuum.
- The doctor using the vacuum should be knowledgeable about proper cup placement, the vacuum strength to be used, cumulative duration of applications and number of recommended extraction attempts.
- The doctor using the vacuum should apply steady traction. Rocking movements or applying torque to the device may be dangerous.
- Those responsible for the infant’s care must be alerted that a vacuum assisted delivery device has been used.
- Educate the neonatal care staff about the complications of vacuum assisted delivery and instruct them to watch for the signs of these complications in any infant in whom a vacuum assisted delivery device was used.