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The Bump Editors

Delivery Room Tools That May Freak You Out (but Shouldn’t!)

Mentally preparing for delivery? Smart! These are the medical tools you may see in the delivery room and what exactly they’re used for. Relax. They’ve been used on plenty of moms who’ve lived to tell (or not tell) about them.



Don’t be alarmed when you see a nurse don a sterile hat, mask and gloves — this means you’re getting close to delivery and it’s time to set up the doctor’s table, not that something’s suddenly gone wrong with you. The nurse is simply keeping things sterile just in case. Here’s what’s being set up:

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

Amniotic hook

It looks a lot scarier than it feels, we promise. This long crochet-like hook is used in the early stages of delivery to break your water if it hasn’t yet happened naturally.



This clamp is used for containing any type of bleed, holding sutures and — most important — clamping the umbilical cord for cutting.



We admit, they do look freaky. These are generally used to try and shift baby’s position, and may also help guide the head out.



If pushing is proving ineffective, your doc will use this to pull the baby out with suction. Don’t be alarmed if your baby comes out looking like a conehead (that often happens without the vacuum). Newborn babies’ heads are very soft and pliable; soon your baby’s will look just like any other noggin.



Just in case you (Sorry! Really!) need an episiotomy.



Unless you’re having a c-section, your doctor probably won’t use this — but it may be kept on hand.


You May Also See:

This old friend is used early in delivery to open your vagina and get a better look at your cervix and dilation.

*Sponge holders
These rings look sort of like forceps but are simply used to hold gauze.

*Laparoscopic sponges
If you have any bleeding, your doc will hold these down to control it.

*Buckets of sterile water
These are used to keep everything clean throughout the delivery.

Photo: Courtesy of St. Jude Medical Center


If there’s a tear or episiotomy, your doc will use sutures to stitch you up. They come in a simple plastic package, so there’s really not much to see…though we doubt you’ll be paying much attention by this point.

More from The Bump:

Top 10 Labor and Delivery Fears

Things No One Tells You About C-Sections

Ways to Make Labor Easier

Photo: Davies+Starr / The Bump