Suction-assisted delivery (vacuum extraction) is one means of vaginal delivery. It has some advantages and disadvantages compared to forceps.

Disadvantages of suction-assisted delivery:

(1) can become detached from the fetal head

(2) contraindicated if the gestational age is less than 34 weeks

(3) does not allow rotation of the head

(4) can cause more bleeding from the scalp

(5) may have a higher rate of encephalopathy



(1) fewer complications for the mother



(1) jaundice

(2) cephalohematoma

(3) encephalopathy

(4) caput succedaneum


As with forceps it is important to distinguish complications directly related to the use of the suction device from conditions that prompted it use. Problems can arise if used inappropriately, if the user is inadequately trained or if a better method of delivery was delayed.

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