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Labor and Delivery - Medical Procedures

In some cases, a woman may need medical help to give birth. For instance, labor may stall, or the baby may need help to get through the birth canal. Sometimes what starts as a routine vaginal birth may end in a cesarean delivery to make sure the mom and baby are safe.

Procedures done during labor

Fetal heart monitoring and vaginal exams are standard practice during labor, but other procedures are used as needed.

Procedures to help with delivery

Sometimes your doctor may need to use different procedures to help deliver the baby.

  • Forceps delivery or vacuum extraction is used to assist a vaginal delivery. This may be needed when labor is stalled at the pushing stage or when the baby shows signs of distress at the pushing stage and needs to be delivered quickly.
  • Episiotomy widens the perineum with an incision. This is sometimes used to deliver the baby's head more quickly, when there are signs of distress.
  • The need for a cesarean birth during labor is mainly based on the baby's and mother's conditions. For more information, see the topic Cesarean Section.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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