Not all births go the way they are supposed to. Sometimes a baby presents in the breech position, feet or bottom first. Sometimes the baby's head is a little too large for the mother's birth canal.
These may be instances in which the professional handling the delivery decides that the process needs an operative assist -- that is, either the use of forceps or vacuum extraction is needed.
According to data available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these types of procedures are done in about 5 percent of all deliveries in the U.S. And while most go alright, they are not without risk to both the mother and to the child. If the provider fails to exercise due care, it can result in a variety of serious injuries or permanent disabilities.