The most dangerous times of any airplane flight are during takeoff and landing. The remainder of the trip is ordinarily uneventful with the exception of some turbulence. What does an airplane ride have to do with your pregnancy? Most mothers in Indiana would agree that the most dangerous time of any pregnancy is labor and delivery.

Under normal circumstances, this is when you face the highest chance of something going wrong. Your doctor probably always keeps the possibilities in the back of his mind, even if you had a picture-perfect pregnancy (try saying that five times fast!). Depending on the circumstances, you may need an emergency C-section, or your doctor may opt for your permission to perform an assisted delivery.

What constitutes as an assisted delivery?

An assisted delivery is one in which you may still deliver vaginally, but your baby needs some assistance exiting the birth canal. Your doctor may want to perform either a forceps or vacuum delivery in this case.

Forceps often look like large salad tongs to those who see them. Your doctor inserts this device into the vagina around the baby’s head. He or she then pulls out your baby — gently. A vacuum delivery involves attaching a suction cup-like device to the top of your baby’s head. Your doctor then guides your baby out with this device. Doctors would use these devices under the following conditions:

  • You suffer a medical emergency or condition that prevents you from effectively and safely pushing.
  • Your baby’s heart rate causes concern from your doctor.
  • You have been in labor so long that you are too exhausted to continue pushing without help.
  • Even though you have pushed for quite some time, your labor does not progress.

As it turns out, forceps and vacuum deliveries only occur around 3 percent of the time. This means that not many doctors have enough experience in performing these procedures to do it safely.

Let’s look at the risks

These methods of assisted delivery come with the following risks:

  • Your baby could suffer intracranial bleeding, or bleeding inside the head.
  • The area between your anus and vagina (or vulva), referred to as the perineum, could sustain an injury.
  • Your baby’s head could suffer trauma.
  • You could develop incontinence, which means you have issues holding your urine.
  • Your baby’s scalp or eyes could suffer injuries.
  • Your baby could suffer nerve damage in the face or arms.

When your doctor asks for your consent to use forceps or a vacuum to assist with the delivery, you may want to take a moment to consider these complications since a C-section could make you more comfortable. Even though a C-section is not without its risks as well, the danger to your baby is often less than using these methods. However, if your doctor is skilled, that may not be the case.

When your child’s life is in jeopardy before it is even born, you could face an impossible choice. You need to trust your doctor to make the decision that provides both of you with the best outcome to the situation. Misplaced trust could lead to disaster.