International Bumpies

Would you ever agree to an assisted vaginal delivery?

I was in my birth prep class last week and the midwife was talking about the use of forceps and vacumm during delivery. It seems that the use of these intruments are still really common here. This scares me for two reasons:

1.) I saw a video of a Dr. using forceps and I thought the whole process was really scary.

2.) My MIL was telling us the other day that she has a cousin that suffered a brain injury from the use of forceps.


Would you be okay with an assisted vaginal delivery? What is the alternative? A C-section?

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Re: Would you ever agree to an assisted vaginal delivery?

  • It would scare me a little if it were common, too, but I would certainly not say that I would never agree to it. And while brain or other injuries can occur with the use of forceps or vacuum, brain damage can also occur if the baby is stuck in the birth canal for too long and isn't getting enough oxygen.

    I would agree if there was a danger to the baby (heart decels or indications that it wasn't getting enough O2), or if the drs were saying it was the only alternative to a zavanelli maneuver (although I don't think the situations in which a zavanelli is used would be the same in which they are considering using forceps or a vacuum). I think in general by the time it comes to the question of using forceps/vacuum, a c-section is no longer an option barring a zavanelli maneuver, though, because the baby is already too far down and out. So I think in most cases, it's a matter of an assisted, faster vaginal delivery or an unassisted, slower vaginal delivery. And then it just comes down to how fast the baby needs to get out, IMO, as to whether I would agree or not.

    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • Having a unassisted birth is something that I would not necessarily want, but if there was something wrong with the baby and he/she needed to come out right away, I would do whatever it takes to deilver safely.  I also heard that sometimes the baby gets stuck in the birth canal and in some cases, a C/S would be riskier than having a vaginal assist at that point.

    DD's birth did not go as I initially planned-we found out she was breech at 32 weeks.  I researched every idea to try an get her to turn on her own, but to no avail. I had a C/S at 39 weeks and eventhough it was not my first option, I had a really great experience and recovery.  For our next LO my goal is try for a VBAC, although I am not sure if they will do this here (another question on my list for the Doctor visit!)



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  • Dd was assisted with a vacuum cause her head got stuck. I think most of the time these things go fine. State your preferences before and then just go with flow as you never know what could happen in the moment
  • I was given the option of an assisted vaginal delivery with DS as he was stuck in my pelvis, lying oblique, and also face up. He?d not progressed at all after 8 hrs of active labour and although was not distressed,  the midwives and my dr were pretty sure he was not going to be able to come out on his own.

    I say I was given the option  - well my Dr said I cld try if I really really wanted to have a vaginal birth, but he was not keen on doing it as it wld be "heavily assisted" with at least a large episiotomy, and some severe manhandling, with prolly both forceps and vacuum.

    DH and I were not keen,  so we went for the csection which turned out to be the right choice as DS was alot bigger than he had appeared on his last scan at 39 weeks.

    This time round I will be having a scheduled csection as the Dr thinks, that because of my curved spine, all my babies will end up oblique as it?s the largest space for them to settle.

    I?m ok with that as Ive already got stiches in one place, and I really don?t want them in 2!


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  • If it was urgently necessary, yes.

    Of course, in a lot of places the urgency is misconstrued or overstated.

    Have heard of terrible pelvic floor injuries from forceps. Ouch!

    So lucky we moved to a place with similar healthcare and outcomes/stats as our home country.

  • I would 100% choose an assisted vaginal delivery over a c-section.
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  • As long as the doctor performing the assist is well-trained with those devices, yes I'd agree, particularly over a C/S.
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  • imagedulcemariamar1:

    2.) My MIL was telling us the other day that she has a cousin that suffered a brain injury from the use of forceps.

    My MIL has a similar story and my SIL has a lazy eye that my MIL swears up and down is due to her doctor's atrocious use of forceps.  I don't know if this is possible or true though--just her story.

    Personally, I would agree to a vaccuum assisted delivery, but be more wary of forceps.  I have heard worse things about forceps and consider them to have more risks associated with them than vaccums.  I can't say I would say no in the moment though.   I would prefer an assissted delivery to a c-section and by that point the baby will have already descended almost fully so I'm not sure how a c-section would go (if it's possible).  

    I think it also depends on how comfortable you feel with the doctor.  If they seem like they are just ready to get the baby out and that's why the assist is happening then I'd be pretty concerned.  I guess I just can't say unless the moment arises, but like I said I think I would prefer a vaccuum assisted delivery to forceps if that became necessary. 

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  • Well I had a vacuum delivery with my first so yes, I would agree to it!  With her I had pushed for 3 hours, she was OP and was not descending further then I had already gotten her.  When her heart rate dropped to below 100 it got serious and it was either vacuum or emergency c-section where they would have had to push her back up in order to get her out.  I choose vacuum and it went fine.  Two pushes with the vacuum (because you still have to push with these kind of deliveries, the instrument just helps you push better) and she was out.

    On the other side though, I have a friend who also had a vacuum delivery and her son experienced siezures and brain damage because of it.  Luckily he is fine now and the brain damage doesn't seem to have affected him but there is always that risk.

    Daughter #1 - February 12, 2010 

    natural m/c March 11, 2011 at 8 1/2 weeks 

    Daughter #2 - January 11, 2012 

    Ectopic pregnancy discovered November 6, 2012 at 6 weeks

    Daughter #3 - January 19, 2014

    Started our exploration into the world of international adoption June 2012.  We have no idea what this is going to look like but we are excited to find out!

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  • At our birthing class the midwife said that it's usually presented as an option between that and a c-section. And honestly, if it's at that point, all bets are off! I'm hoping for as med-free a birth as possible but as it's my first I have no idea what it's really going to be like so I'm just trying to stay open to anything. There's apparently 2 different kind of forceps - one is scary and one is more benign. DH is in charge of remembering the difference so we can make informed decisions at the time.
    TTC #1 since Aug 2010 * BFP Aug 2011, EDD April 16 2012 * MMC @ 7w5d, D&C @ 10w5d
    BFP Apr 2012, EDD Dec 19 2012 * twin h/b at 6wk, 9wk scan * Baby A lost at 12wks
    Baby B was my rainbow born at 36wks on Nov 27 2012

    Lilypie - (kqKn)
  • Well, if I got pregnant again, I'd want a planned c/s, so I'm probably not the one to ask. But I don't think forceps or vacuum are horrible options or anything. They can help a lot and they have their place. They also aren't guarantees. It might still not work and then you end up with a c/s anyway. That happened to a good friend of mine.
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  • I certainly wouldn't choose an assisted vaginal delivery, but I would prefer it to having a C-section.  There are more risks for forceps/vacuum delivery babies than for those who come on their own, and tearing for mom is almost guaranteed, but if the alternative is baby spending too long in the birth canal and being compromised, then the decision for an assist is a good one. 

    You need a healthcare provider that you really trust, so that when they say they need to do a forceps/vacuum delivery, you know they really do.  What scares me is the thought of having someone deliver my baby who I can't trust to tell it like it is--someone who might overstate the need for an intervention I don't really want.

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  • imagefrlcb:
    I would 100% choose an assisted vaginal delivery over a c-section.

    Yup. Well, maybe 90%? My post-vbac/forceps pain was worse than my post c-section pain. But I'm still so glad I did the vbac and for ust he forceps were the only optoin bar repeat section. Her HB was 18 and she needed to come out. If I hadn't been ready, making an assisted vag delivery possible, I'd have had to have another, emergency, section.

    So, it depends on your context of 'agreeing' but I dont' see a problem. There are problems with all sorts of deliveries. Natural, surgical, assisted, etc.

    Mum to W (4) and M (nearly 2)
  • Also, a thought, but are their c-section rates lower perhaps than in the US and other countries? I mean, perhaps they don't resort to 'emergency' sections so much and use assisted delivery more?
    Mum to W (4) and M (nearly 2)
  • imagefrlcb:
    I would 100% choose an assisted vaginal delivery over a c-section.

    There are emergent situations in which it is absolutely necessary. I wasn't even given a choice with DS. He had decels bc of hypoxia on my part so they had to get him out fast. 

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