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Types of ventouse and how they are used

Types of ventouse and how they are used


Types of ventouse

Conditions for ventouse

Pain relief

Applying the ventouse

Delivering the baby

Guidelines for safe use

Types of ventouse

The ventouse (also known as a 'vacuum extractor') is a metal or rubber-type cup with tubing attached. The cup is applied to the crown of the baby's head, after which negative pressure (or a 'vacuum') is created, to enable the caregiver to 'pull' the baby down, as you 'push', for the baby to be born in the event of complications.

As with forceps, there have been many different types of ventouse designed in a range of sizes (3, 4, 5 or 6 cms in diameter). The type of cup used will depend on how far the baby's head has descended down the birth canal, the position of the baby's head and your caregiver's preferences.

The different types of ventouse that are commonly used include:

Metal cup

Semi-rigid cup

Soft cup

Metal cup.

This type of ventouse is made of metal, and can come as a large 'anterior cup' and a smaller 'posterior cup'. Metal cups are associated with being more successful at delivering the baby when their head is higher in the birth canal, for more difficult births and where the baby's head is deflexed (head slightly extended rather than tucked in with chin on chest) or in a posterior position.

A metal cup does not actually turn the baby as such (like forceps can), but the head will generally rotate on its own as it descends onto the woman's pelvic floor, in the same way as it would if the head descended unassisted. Metal cups are also capable of being used before the woman is fully dilated, and can be attempted if the baby is distressed, and the woman is more than 7 centimetres dilated.

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