Birth Injury Caused by Vacuum Extraction

Birth Injury Attorneys Representing Victims of Malpractice throughout Illinois

During childbirth, if complications arise in attempting a vaginal delivery, medical professionals will often use alternative means of facilitating childbirth, one of those being the vacuum extraction technique to help pull the baby out. However, it is crucial that the instruments used in this technique are used correctly by trainer professionals; otherwise, severe complications can arise for the baby and/or mother.

Serious birth injuries caused by a healthcare provider's misuse of vacuum extraction can impact your child's health for a lifetime. If you believe that your child was injured as a result of negligence during vacuum extraction, you may be able to seek compensation. Contact us today so that we can help.

The Process

Vacuum extraction is a delivery technique that medical practitioners use to assist with vaginal delivery. During the procedure, a plastic cup is placed on a newborn's head and attached to a vacuum. This vacuum creates a suction that works with the mother's pushing to move the baby through the mother's birth canal. At the same time, the medical personnel will often also use forceps to help guide the baby’s head while the vacuum helps with pulling.


When any of the instruments involved in the technique are used incorrectly, the baby can endure extensive harm. The procedure is highly regulated and in fact, agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration have even issued health advisories concerning the use of the technique due to their potential to cause severe injury. Complications resulting from vacuum extraction can include:

  • Scalp and/or brain swelling/damage;
  • Bruising, subgaleal hematoma (bleeding between the skull and scalp);
  • Skull fractures and/or bone distortions;
  • Intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding around or in the brain);
  • Neonatal jaundice;
  • Seizures;
  • Strokes;
  • Cerebral palsy; and
  • Other injuries, all of which can lead to permanent injuries, disabilities, or death.

These can result from either incorrect use of the forceps and/or the suction cup of the vacuum extractor. If, for example, the doctor twists the forceps or pulls too hard, or if the vacuum extractor isn’t working and the doctor continues to try to use it, it can lead to problems. In instances like these, the doctor choosing to deliver via caesarean section can be a safer option.


Most vaginal deliveries do not require the assistance of a vacuum extraction. Before using such a method, doctors and hospital staff can attempt to reposition the mother during delivery to try to move the baby down the birth canal. The vacuum extraction technique is usually reserved for instances where labor alone is not causing the baby to move down on its own. In fact, most practitioners use vacuum extraction to avoid a caesarean section or to prevent fetal distress.

Birth Injury Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois

If you or a loved one has been injured by the use of this technique, please call our Illinois birth injury lawyers at 312-332-2872 or 877-374-1417 to discuss your potential case with an experienced attorney, or complete our birth injury case intake form and someone from Levin & Perconti will follow-up with you shortly.