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A vacuum-assisted delivery can have serious consequences


Many Pittsburgh couples look forward to the birth of a new baby. The new arrival is highly anticipated for months and the family plans everything for their arrival. Most births go as planned but occasionally a birth complication arises that results in a birth injury.

When a delivery does not go as expected there are many options available for the mother. One option that is used occasionally is a vacuum-assisted delivery. In this situation a cup is placed on the baby's head and during a contraction the doctor pulls the baby out while the mother pushes. A vacuum-assisted delivery is used when the baby is not moving down the birth canal in a timely way or if the mom is too tired to push any longer. Most of the time a vacuum-assisted delivery has few side effects but there can be some serious consequences.

Babies who are born using a vacuum may have some bleeding under the scalp which is typically not serious. They can also have internal head injuries and bleeding which can be very serious. Also if the medical provider is not careful the baby can suffer from an extractor injury such as Erb's palsy. They can suffer from permanent nerve damage or a brachial plexus injury.

If a family believes that a vacuum-assisted delivery resulted in a birth injury they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records and determine if a medical professional was negligent in their care.

Source: Medline Plus, "Vacuum-assisted delivery," accessed on April 7, 2015

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