What you can expect
During the procedure
During a vacuum extraction, you'll lie on your back with your legs spread apart. You might be asked to grip handles on each side of the delivery table to brace yourself while pushing.
Your health care provider will insert the vacuum cup into your vagina, place the cup against the baby's head, and check to make sure no vaginal tissues are trapped between the cup and the baby's head. Then your health care provider will use the vacuum pump to create suction.
During the next contraction, your health care provider will rapidly increase the vacuum suction pressure, grasp the cup's handle and try to guide the baby through the birth canal while you push. Between contractions, your health care provider might maintain or reduce the suction pressure.
After your baby's head is delivered, your health care provider will release the suction and remove the cup.
Vacuum extractions aren't always successful. If your health care provider is unable to safely deliver your baby with assistance from a vacuum, a cesarean delivery will be recommended.
After the procedure
After delivery, your health care provider will examine you for any injuries that might have been caused by the vacuum. Any tears will be repaired. If an episiotomy was performed, it will be repaired as well.
Your baby will also be monitored for signs of complications that can be caused by a vacuum extraction.
When you go home
If you had an episiotomy or a vaginal tear during delivery, the wound might hurt for a few weeks. Extensive tears might take longer to heal.
While you're healing, expect the discomfort to progressively improve. Contact your health care provider if the pain gets worse, you develop a fever, or you notice signs of an infection.
If you're unable to control your bowel movements (fecal incontinence), consult your health care provider.