Instrumental Delivery

Instrumental Delivery

This term is used to describe a vaginal delivery that is assisted by the use of an instrument. It may also be referred to as an operative vaginal delivery. Between 5% – 20% of all births are instrumental or operative vaginal deliveries.

The instruments most commonly used are forceps or vacuum/suction devices. Many instrumental deliveries take place in a hospital delivery room but around 1 in 20 will take place in an operating theatre.  Both devices can also be used to assist a caesarean section delivery.

Forceps are metal instruments which are shaped like large spoons and cradle a baby’s head.  Vacuum or suction devices look like cups and are placed onto a baby’s head and a vacuum is created. Both devices help guide the baby through the birth canal during the contractions, while the pregnant woman continues to push.

A decision may be made with a pregnant woman for an instrumental delivery when the baby is not moving down the birth canal as expected, if the pregnant woman has a medical problem which may place her at risk of complications if she keeps pushing, or where a baby is showing signs that they are not receiving enough oxygen.

An instrumental delivery may be indicated to expedite delivery when labour has been going on for a long time, when the baby is not moving down in the birth canal as expected or when there are early warning signs that the baby may not be getting enough oxygen. An instrumental delivery can speed up delivery to help avoid any harm to baby from not receiving enough oxygen.

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CP Smile Project

The CP Smile Project is a community project that helps ensure children with cerebral palsy have access to recreational opportunities that allow them to engage in play and community involvement. We give monthly bursaries to families to help them provide the support needed for their child to engage in play and have fun.