Med Device Monday: Safer C-sections

Many medical conditions and complications can be and are diagnosed ahead of time, resulting in planned cesarean sections. Of course, emergencies still happen, and in fact, the National Institutes of Health reports that there has been a rise in the numbers of both elective/planned c-sections, and second stage c-sections in the past 20 years.  

The second stage of labor is the point in delivery when the cervix is fully dilated, and the baby is making its way through the vagina and out into the world. While only 1-3% of c-sections occur at this point in the process, they are, as you might imagine, more dangerous and potentially traumatic for mother and child. When the baby's head may already be in the birth canal and doctors have to reach farther into the body, risks are higher and include tears or damage to the cervix, vagina, and uterus, hemorrhage, and extended hospital stays. 

In fact, some reports are that up to 57% of mothers who have a second stage c-section experience some of these complications. 

Fetal pillow is a new medical device from Safe Obstetrics, and it aims to reduce these complications by getting the baby's head out of the birth canal prior to a second stage c-section.

Photo from

Photo from

Fetal pillow consists of a small inflatable device that is inserted into the vagina, and then moved down below the baby's head, between it and the coccyx to prevent injury. An attached tube is used to fill the "pillow" with saline and push the baby's head out of the birth canal and back into the uterus. 

When used correctly, this simple, Class II prophylactic device can result in safer, easier births with better patient outcomes for both mother and baby. It reduces complications and length of hospital stays, cuts down on blood loss, and reduces chance of injury to mother and child. 

I love seeing devices like this come into the marketplace! A true win for all in the form of a beautifully simple and effective solution.


Further reading:

Fetal pillow device classification

You can see actual footage (warning: this is not a cartoon) of the fetal pillow being used during a live c-section