Why is an assisted birth necessary?


Why is an assisted birth necessary?

There are a number of reasons why an assisted delivery may be necessary.

  • You are too tired to be able to give birth to your baby on your own
  • Your womb has become exhausted and contractions are no longer very efficient
  • Your baby has become distressed (short of oxygen) during the pushing part of labour
  • Your baby isn’t in the best position for him to be born easily
  • You have had an epidural. There is a link between epidurals and assisted deliveries. The pelvic floor muscles which are attached to your pelvis help turn your baby’s head and shoulders into the best position for birth. Epidurals tend to make these muscles slack, with the result that the baby’s head may not turn into quite the best position to be born. Sometimes, women who have had epidurals find it difficult to know when and how to push with their contractions and this makes the second or pushing stage of labour less efficient
  • Your baby is very premature. The skull bones of a premature baby are very soft and some doctors feel that to put a protective cage round the baby’s head by using forceps ensures that the baby’s head won’t be damaged as he squeezes out of the pelvis
  • Your baby is in the breech position (coming bottom first). Midwives and doctors who are skilled in helping deliver breech babies may not need to use forceps as there are techniques for enabling these babies to be born naturally. However, many doctors prefer to use forceps to control the delivery of the baby’s head. A woman who is expecting twins may deliver her first baby herself, and then have forceps for the second baby if that baby is breech.

Sometimes there will be a combination of these reasons, such as a baby being in an awkward position, which means that pushing takes much longer and the mother becomes exhausted.