An assisted delivery may be needed in the following cases:
- if the mother is unable to push the baby out herself, because of exhaustion
- foetal distress
- if the baby is large and therefore may not fit through the birth canal
- the baby's head may be stuck
Forceps (curved metal blades that look like tongs) are applied to either side of the baby's head and the baby is gently eased out of the uterus using the contractions. The baby is not pulled out.
During the second stage of labour, a metal or plastic cup (that looks like a plunger!) is attached to the baby's head. The cup has a suction cap and it sucks onto the baby's skull. With help from the mother and the obstetrician the baby is eased out from the vagina when contractions occur.