There has been a dramatic rise in the frequency of cesarean sections, surpassing 30% of all deliveries in the US. This upsurge, coupled with a decreasing willingness to allow vaginal birth after cesarean section, has resulted in an expansion of the use of vacuum assistance to safely extract the fetal head. By avoiding the use of a delivering hand or forceps blade, the volume being delivered through the uterine incision can be decreased when the vacuum is used properly. Reducing uterine extensions with their associated complications (eg, excessive blood loss) in difficult cases is also a theoretical advantage of vacuum delivery. Maternal discomfort related to excessive fundal pressure may also be lessened. To minimize the risk of neonatal morbidity, proper cup placement over the "flexion point" remains essential to maintain vacuum integrity and reduce the chance of inadvertent detachment and uterine extensions. Based on the published literature and pragmatic clinical experience, utilization of the vacuum device is a safe and effective technique to assist delivery during cesarean section.
Keywords: birth; cesarean section; delivery; forceps; vacuum.