Suction Cup Birth by Inexperienced Staff Leaves Newborn With Head Injuries

Suction Cup Birth by Inexperienced Staff Leaves Newborn With Head Injuries

The hospital staff checked the instructions on how to use a suction cup while the mum was in labour.

During labour, if the mum is too exhausted, doctors may advise a suction cup birth. Mostly, a suction cup birth will go seamlessly without any mishaps. But for new parents Jessica Henderson and Darren Carr, their son Kayden’s suction cup birth was a complete disaster. 

Suction cup birth went wrong

Jessica, who gave birth to her little love at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, was in labour for 27 hours. The hospital staff chose to go for a suction cup birth. But unfortunately the inexperienced staff was unable to handle the situation properly and that has left the newborn with head injuries. 

suction cup birth

Suction cup birth injuries | Image: Screencapped from Mirror

Mummy Jessica shares: “The girl was pulling the suction cup when I wasn’t having contractions. It felt like they were ripping it out of me, it was so bad. She pulled it that hard the suction cup popped off. There was blood everywhere.”

The couple also shared that the hospital staff didn’t seem to know how to use a suction cup. They also went through the instructions about how to use a suction cup right in front of the couple before they used it. Inappropriate use of the suction cup and forceps seems to have led to this horrible incident.

Jessica and Darren also shared that the staff put a hat on their just-born and tried to cover the head injuries. The new parents found out about the injuries hours after they had left the hospital. They are afraid that the incident has left a permanent scar on their baby’s head. 

The couple is now considering legal action against the hospital.

Hospital authorities apologise to the couple

suction cup birth

Jessica and Darren, Kayden’s parents |Image: Screencapped from Mirror

The hospital authorities expressed their apology to the couple for their traumatic experience. Dr Alan Cook, who is the NHS Tayside medical director, mentioned in his statement: “The head of midwifery and I have both met with Ms Henderson to apologise for her experience, for the distress this has caused and to discuss her concerns further. We will now undertake a full review of this incident. The findings and lessons learned will be shared with the baby’s parents and any recommendations to amend future care will be implemented.”

What is suction cup birth?

A suction cup birth is a type of assisted birth wherein forceps or ventouse suction cup is used to facilitate the delivery. The ventouse and forceps are considered as safe equipment. Also, these are used only when essential. Here are a few points that you should know about a suction cup birth.

When is suction cup used?

The doctors may use a suction cup if:

  • The heart beat rate of your baby is a cause of concern.
  • Your baby is in an awkward position.
  • You may be too exhausted.

What are the risks involved in a suction cup birth?

suction cup birth

Baby Kayden was left with head injuries | Image: Screencapped from Mirror

Using a ventouse or forceps is not uncommon, but even then it involves certain risks to both mum and baby. Your doctor should discuss that with you. Here’s a list of what may need to be taken care of when going for a suction cup birth.

  • Vaginal tearing or episiotomy that can be repaired with stitches. The stitches are dissolvable. 
  • Vaginal tearing of a third or fourth degree involves the wall or muscle of the anus or rectum. This is as common as one in 100 in vaginal deliveries, four in 100 in ventouse deliveries and eight to 12 in 100 in forceps deliveries. 
  • There’s a high risk of blood clotting in case of instrumental deliveries such as these. The clotting can happen especially in the legs and pelvis. Lots of walking and/or wearing anti-clot stockings can be helpful. Follow your doctor’s advice about this. They may also suggest heparin injections in some cases.
  • Urinary incontinence occurs in 30 out of 100 women after childbirth. But this happens a lot more in case of instrumental deliveries. This can be treated with the help of physiotherapy and exercises related to the pelvic region. 
  • Anal incontinence may happen but the exact percentage of the same in case of instrumental deliveries is unclear. One study estimates it to be anywhere between 13 and 27 percent. 

What are the risks to your baby?

suction cup birth

Suction cup birth can lead to jaundice in rare cases. | Image: Screencapped from Mirror

  • Chignon – The ventouse cup could leave a mark on your baby’s head. But that should disappear in 48 hours in normal circumstances. 
  • Cephalohaematoma – This is a bruise on your baby’s head. But this disappears with time too. However, it might lead to a slight increase in jaundice in the initial stages of the baby’s life. But there are rarely any other issues.  
  • Marks of the forceps also disappear within 48 hours in normal circumstances.
  • There could be small cuts on your baby’s scalp and face. But these also heal very soon.


Source: Mirror, NHS UK

ALSO READ: Risks of forceps delivery

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

Written by

Prutha Soman

app info
get app banner