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What is assisted Delivery?

Forceps or a ventouse suction cup are used during an assisted birth also known as an instrumental delivery.
A ventouse or forceps IS only be used when necessary for the well-being of you and your baby. Women who have given birth to a baby naturally are less likely to undergo assisted delivery.

What happens during a forceps or ventouse delivery?

You should talk with your obstetrician about the reasons for choosing assisted birth, as well as the instruments and procedures to be used. Prior to the procedure, you will have to give your consent.

In the absence of an epidural, you will usually receive a local anaesthetic to numb your vagina and the skin between your vagina and anus (perineum).

The obstetrician may move you to an operating room if the need arises for a caesarean section. A small cut (episiotomy) is likely to be required to increase the vaginal opening. If there is a tear or cut, stitches will be applied to repair it. It may be possible to deliver the baby on your tummy and still allow your birth partner to cut the cord, depending on the circumstances.


The suction cup is attached to the baby’s head by a ventouse. The suction device is attached to a soft or hard plastic/metal cup by a tube. The cup fits securely onto your baby’s head. The obstetrician gently pulls to assist in the delivery of your baby during a contraction.

Forceps delivery may be more appropriate if you are giving birth at less than 36 weeks pregnant and you require assisted birth. At this point in your pregnancy, you are less likely to damage your baby’s head with forceps since it is softer.


It resembles large spoons or tongs but is made of smooth metal. It is curved so it fits around the baby’s head. Your baby’s head is carefully positioned around the forceps, which are linked at the handles. While you are pushing and having a contraction, an obstetrician gently pulls your baby out.

Different forceps are available. Many of these machines are specifically designed to allow the baby to be born in the proper position, such as if your baby is lying facing upwards (occiput-posterior position) or on one side (occipital-lateral position).

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