Assisted Instrumental Delivery with Forceps and Vacuum

Assisted Instrumental Delivery is when the use of forceps or vacuum is necessary to deliver the baby and facilitate a natural vaginal birth.


Forceps Delivery

Obstetrical forceps are medical devices that appear to be a long pair of spoons and tongs. These are used to assist delivery when the mother or baby is in distress during labour, and the baby’s head is already far down the birth canal. It is also used when the baby has not turned to face the right way or isn’t moving down the birth canal.

In a delivery that warrants the use of sterile forceps blades, the doctor will gently insert it into the vagina and around the baby’s head. These are safe instruments with a lock and a handle which are specifically designed to have curvatures to accommodate the baby’s head and adapt to the contours of the maternal pelvis.



An obstetric vacuum extractor is a cup-shaped instrument that applies gentle suction to the top of the baby’s head and holds the baby in place. It is applied to prevent the baby’s head from moving back up the birth canal in between contractions. It can also be used to assist the mother while she pushes during contractions. As you push with each uterine contraction, the doctor also gently pulls to deliver the baby’s head with the aid of the vacuum extractor.


Indications for an Assisted Instrumental Delivery

You are too exhausted to effectively push or deliver your baby.
There is suspicion of imminent potential fetal compromise or the baby’s condition has deteriorated, and an instrumental delivery is necessary for immediate delivery.
You have been pushing for too long. An assisted delivery may be necessary to prevent obstetrical complications due to prolonged pushing (e.g. excessive bleeding or fetal distress)

In critical periods where the need for assisted instrumental delivery is necessary, be sure that you have the right doctor on your team. This minimizes the risk of potential complications and ensures that you are in good hands – especially when assistance is needed! With her training and experience, Dr. Pamela Tan ensures that optimal care is given during labour and delivery. Learn more about assisted delivery and other related concerns. Book your consultation today!