Skip to main content

Back to patient information homepage

Assisted vaginal birth (ventouse or forceps)

Published: 16/05/2012

The purpose of an assisted vaginal birth is to mimic a normal (spontaneous) birth with minimum risk to you and the baby. To do this, an obstetrician or midwife uses instruments (ventouse or forceps) to help your baby to be born.

There are several reasons why you may require an assisted vaginal birth. The main ones are:

  • Your baby is not moving out of the birth canal as would normally be expected
  • There are concerns about your baby’s wellbeing during birth
  • You're unable to, or have been advised not to, push during birth

This information is for you if you wish to know more about assisted vaginal birth (also known as operative vaginal delivery).

This patient information leaflet is based on the RCOG clinical guideline Operative Vaginal Delivery, which contains a full list of the sources of evidence used to produce this guidance.

Give us your feedback

If you have recently read one of our leaflets, please give us feedback by completing this short questionnaire