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What risk does a vacuum extraction pose during childbirth?

Expecting mothers in Indiana have numerous tools at their disposal to aid in a difficult labor. Sometimes, natural births are not possible or healthy for you or your child. In these situations, an alternate method may be proposed. Vacuum extraction is one possibility.

The Mayo Clinic describes vacuum extraction as a medical procedure in which a vacuum pump is applied to the baby's head during contractions. It's used to aid the mother in pushing and will help pull the child from the birth canal. This is usually done if no progress is being made during natural delivery or if health and safety reasons demand an immediate delivery.

Of course, like all procedures, vacuum extraction does come with certain risks. You may suffer from physical injury, such as tears to the lower genital track or pain in the perenium after the procedure. You may have difficulty urinating and struggle with fecal incontinence, which is usually short-term but can also last a while.

A more serious side effect is pelvic organ prolapse, in which the muscles of the pelvis are weakened and the pelvic organs fall lower in the body. Additionally, blood loss during the procedure can also cause you to suffer from anemia. 

Your baby may suffer from injuries to the scalp, bleeding within the skull, or even skull or collarbone fractures. It's also possible for brachial plexus to occur if their shoulder becomes stuck after the head has breached.

These risks are not extremely common, but are still possible. Deciding which delivery option to use is up to you, your comfort level, and the distress you're in during labor. Being aware of the potential damages may help you make your decision.

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