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Infant Delivery Device for Vaginal Delivery

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Design Award

  • Tong Biomedical Design Award Winner

Project Overview

Childbirth is the number one reason for hospitalization in the United States, accounting for over $16 billion in U.S. hospital costs each year. Of the 4.2 million deliveries, 140,000 require assistive vaginal delivery techniques due to prolonged labor [1]. Prolonged labor is considered high risk causing complications and elevated risks of neonatal brain trauma, injury, and death. Assisted vaginal delivery may be employed to help expedite the labor process [2].

Currently, assistive techniques utilize either forceps or ventouse. Both devices have a high infant delivery success rate; however, assisted delivery also has the highest injury rate of all deliveries [1]. Forceps-assisted delivery is associated with lacerations and excessive blood loss to the mother, as well as superficial injuries to the infant [2][3]. Ventouse, also known as vacuum-assisted delivery, often leads to bruising and cranial deformations to the infant, and increases the risk of neonatal intracranial hemorrhaging and subgaleal hematoma [4].

A cylindrical, helically woven extraction device that decreases radially when lengthened was fabricated. As it is elongated, the tightening applies a minimal, evenly distributed force around the head allowing for a safer delivery. An applicator was also designed in order to increase extractor usability. The applicator contains six prongs that are oriented along the woven extractor strips, and are flexible to accommodate various head sizes. Additionally, six rectangular pockets were added to the strips of the extractor for attachment of the applicator.

In order to compare the designed woven extractor with the current devices, SolidWorks FEA Static Simulations were performed on a fetal head model for loading conditions corresponding to the woven extractor, forceps, and vacuum extractor. The simulations concluded that the increased contact area of the woven extractor reduces the stresses, strains, and deformations on the head, which is supported by analytical calculations.

In order to improve the FEA simulations, closer estimations to the actual contact area should be used, as well as, a more anatomically correct SolidWorks fetal head model. Traction forces should also be considered. Further testing needs to be completed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the extractor and applicator. This will be done via an experimental setup utilizing a model birth canal and infant.

[1] Podulka, J., Stranges, E., Steiner, C. (2008). Statistical Brief #110. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, April 2011. Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality.
[2] O'Grady, J. P., Pope, C. S., & Hoffman, D. E. (2002). Forceps Delivery. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 16 (1), 1-16.
[3] Johanson, R.B. & Menon, V. (2000). Vacuum Extraction versus forceps for assisted vaginal delivery. Cochrane Database System Review.
[4] Ekeus, C., Hogberg, U., & Norman, M. (2014). Vacuum assisted birth and risk for cerebral complications in term newborn infants: a population-based cohort study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14 (36).

Team Picture

Team members from left to right: Emily Junger, Alenna Beroza, Kimberly Buchanan, Ana Lara Santiago
Team members from left to right: Emily Junger, Alenna Beroza, Kimberly Buchanan, Ana Lara Santiago

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Alenna Beroza, BME 402 - Team Leader
  • Ana Lara Santiago, BME 402 - Communicator
  • Emily Junger, BME 402 - BSAC
  • Kimberly Buchanan, BME 402 - BWIG & BPAG

Advisor and Client

  • Dr. Joseph Towles - Advisor
  • Dr. Jay Lick - Client

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