Today I am going to take a look at the various methods that may be required during the birth of your child. If you are informed, then you can be confident in making the best choices for you and your baby. If your delivery were to take an unexpected direction, you can feel safe and secure with this knowledge. We are going to start by looking at Assisted Delivery.

What is an assisted delivery?  

So the most common type of birth is a vaginal delivery. However, there may be an occasion when assisted delivery methods are required.  For some Mums-to-be labour can be a straightforward and uncomplicated process, but for others they may require help from the medical staff.  Such help can vary from the use of medicines right through to emergency procedures.

Forms of assisted delivery procedures used by your doctor will depend on the conditions that may arise whilst you are in labour. They may include the following…

Those highlighted in blue are links to click on. These will provide more in-depth information about each procedure. 

Fetal monitoring, forceps or ventouse

Fetal monitoring:

This is the process of watching the baby’s heart rate and can either be external or internal.

  • External fetal monitoring is wherean ultrasound device is placed on Mum’s abdomen. This is so that information can be recorded about her baby’s heart rate (HR), the frequency and duration of her contractions. It can be used either continuously or intermittently.
  • Internal monitoring involves the use of a small electrode to record the baby’s heart rate.  This method is the most accurate way to obtain information. But in order to attach electrodes to the baby’s scalp the membranes must be ruptured first.  A pressure sensor can also be placed near the baby to measure the strength of contractions.

Forceps delivery:

Forceps look like two large spoons that the doctor will insert into the vagina and around the baby’s head during this method of delivery.  Once the forceps are in place the doctor will use them to gently deliver the baby’s head through the vagina. The rest of the baby is delivered normally.

Vacuum extraction:

This looks like a small suction cup that is placed on the baby’s head to aid delivery.  The vacuum is created using a pump and this helps the baby to be pulled down the birth canal together with the help of Mum’s contractions.  A bruise is often left on the baby’s head but this typically settles down after the first 48 hours.

More Information

If you want further information on assisted delivery by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) then click this here.

I have recommended this link before by, which has videos and written interviews of women talking about their experiences of vaginal birth, including forceps and ventouse.  So worth a look and finally if you want to find out more about what happens in labour and pain relief in labour all you have to do is click these two links.

Consult your HCP

I hope you have found my latest series of blogs useful, remember I am not medically trained in these areas and any questions you have or cannot find the answer(s) to then either consult your doctor or midwife who will.  

What I will say, is that I think it is part of my job as a trainer of Mums, no matter what stage they are at… before conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond… to know what she can expect.  So I have the overall picture rather than just one small piece of it.

Next time I will be looking at the various alternative methods Mums and birth partners can use to help have the most natural childbirth possible through labour and birth; Lamaze, the Bradley Method and Hypnobirthing.

Happy Choices, Happy Mum, Happy Birth!


  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Baby Centre UK 
  • NHS.UK