What is Ventouse Delivery?

By Jason Brady

baby and mother holding hands

Ventouse deliveries take place when a conventional, vaginal birth is too dangerous.

What is a ventouse delivery?

Ventouse deliveries take place when doctors / medical professionals deem a conventional vaginal birth to be too dangerous for you and/or your child. Whilst they are not necessary for most births, they are still common medical practice in the UK and considered safe when carried out by qualified professionals. The practice involves attaching a suction cup to the baby’s head and using this to help manoeuvre the baby through the birth canal.

Are there different types of ventouse devices?

Ventouse devices come in various forms, with most made of plastic or metal. Some may be attached to a suction machine via a tube, whilst others – sometimes referred to as “Kiwi” devices – use a manual pump operated by your obstetrician or a midwife.

When should a ventouse delivery be considered?

You may wish to consider an assisted ventouse delivery when the medical staff responsible for your care identify one or more of the following risk factors associated with delivering your baby:

  • If you suffer from high blood pressure or are significantly overweight for example, it may be unwise to exert significant effort and place strain on your heart by pushing out your baby unassisted.
  • If your baby’s head is significantly larger than average, this can also present difficulties which are best addressed via an assisted delivery.
  • Your baby’s position can also pose a risk, with those orientated in a “back-to-back” position resting against your spine more likely to require assistance.
Looking for advice?

If you or your baby have suffered an injury as a result of an assisted delivery, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

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Are there any risks associated with a ventouse delivery?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with a ventouse delivery and these should be weighed against the prospective benefits by appropriately trained medical personnel.

Risks to you can include:

  • Episiotomies or vaginal tearing – these can usually be repaired using stitches which will then dissolve and disappear.
  • A greater risk of blood clots in your legs or pelvis – you may be advised to wear special anti-clot stockings and/or move around as much as possible following birth to address this risk.
  • Urinary and/or anal incontinence following the birth, with the former, addressed via physiotherapy exercises.

Risks to your child can include:

  • Imprints or marks – known as “chignons” are left behind on your baby’s head, which typically disappears within 48 hours after birth.
  • “Cephalohaematomas” or small bruises on the head – these too will disappear in time.
  • A greater risk of developing jaundice, which should subsequently be monitored but will normally subside within a few days.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors acted for Mr L in a medical negligence claim in the High Court after he was misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis meant he went on to suffer a serious stroke-causing life-limiting disability.

What if something goes wrong with my ventouse delivery?

The vast majority of ventouse deliveries take place without serious adverse consequences, but in rare instances, you may be let down by those responsible for your care. If this is the case, you should contact a Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitor for free initial advice on making a no-win, no-fee clinical negligence compensation claim to address the consequences.


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