Why and when are they used?
Who performs an assisted delivery?
Types of forceps and how they are used
Types of ventouse and how they are used
Forceps or ventouse?
Support strategies to help avoid an assisted delivery
Baby after an assisted delivery
Assisted delivery in Australia
History of forceps
Forceps are surgical instruments placed around the head of the baby by a doctor, to assist the birth during the 2nd stage of the labour (or the pushing phase). In the late 16th Century, a man by the name of Peter Chamberlen developed the first obstetrical forceps. He kept them a family secret for over a century, as the Chamberlen men laid claim to the fact that they alone could deliver babies (and their mothers) from 'difficult births', when everyone else had failed. The guarding of this secret also came with stories of blindfolding family members at births, to prevent his invention from being discovered.
It is unknown whether the secret was kept for personal power, control or possibly even greed. What is known is that the 'secret forceps' were handed down through generations of the Chamberlen men, with only the last generation in the 18th Century actually studying to become doctors.
Around 1720, their secret became known, and their use by doctors exploded. At the time, there began a move away from the traditional female midwife, to male doctors (especially by affluent royalty). Part of this was due to female midwives not being permitted to use forceps, as they were, and still are, regarded as an obstetric procedure.
History of ventouse
Ventouse (pronounced 'von - toose') is the French word for 'suction', and is used in medical terms to describe the specially designed cups (either metal or rubber) that can be placed on the baby's head using negative pressure, to assist the birth of the baby in the event of complications. Other words to describe this method include 'assisted delivery', 'vacuum method' or a 'vacuum extraction'.