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Problems in labour: Ventouse

Reasons for the use of a ventouse cup to aid delivery during labour and avoid problems with birth and delivery, plus suggestions for recovery.
If you are in the second stage of labour and your baby becomes distressed or you have been pushing for some time and your baby is not moving down then a ventouse delivery might be recommended to you.

A ventouse is a cup which is placed on your baby's head and then suction is applied. As you push, the doctor or midwife will pull on the cup. Sometime the baby's head is found to be in an abnormal position. The cup can correct this.


Your legs will normally be lifted up and supported by stirrups attached to the sides of the delivery bed. The bottom of the bed is then dropped down. If you have not passed urine recently your bladder may be emptied with a catheter. Drapes may be used to keep everything clean. The ventouse cup will then be put in place and suction applied.

You will be asked to push with your contractions. If you are very numb from your epidural then your midwife will help you by telling you when to push. When your baby's head moves down onto your perineum the person helping you deliver your baby will tell you if you need to have an episiotomy.

Soon after this your baby should be born. A towel will be placed on you to lift your baby onto. Most of the time your baby will be checked over immediately after delivery and an extra person will probably have been brought into the room for this purpose.

Most of the time your baby will be checked and will be fine. It is a good idea to allow your baby to have vitamin K after a ventouse delivery. (Vitamin K is a substance which helps with blood dotting and can prevent internal bleeding. It is lacking in newborn babies. As soon as you can the best place for your baby to be is lying on you, next to your skin. This will help your baby adjust to newborn life.

If your baby is not coming down with your pushes and the aid of the ventouse or the ventouse cup repeatedly falls of it may be necessary to use forceps or deliver your baby by caesarean section.


Recovery after a ventouse delivery is similar to recovery after a normal delivery. You are a little more likely to have needed stitches. (see episiotomy). It could be that you have also had a particularly long and painful labour. You will need to rest to recover from this.

Your baby will probably have some marks on it?s head from the cup and it?s head shape is likely to be quite long initially. This will soon change in just a few hours you will notice a difference.

It may be that your caregivers will want you to stay in hospital for a day or two after the birth to ensure you are on the road to recovery. It is possible that your baby has a headache and be irritable after birth. If this is the case baby paracetamol may be prescribed. If there has been significant bruising your baby is more at risk of becoming jaundiced. Frequent feeding can help to prevent this although sometimes phototherapy treatment is needed.

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