Ritgen Maneuver Definition, Purpose, Steps | Ritgen maneuver vs Modified Ritgen

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What is Ritgen Maneuver?

The Ritgen maneuver is a technique that is used to help reduce tearing of the perineum (area that lies between the vagina and the anus) during childbirth. The maneuver entails applying pressure to the perineum with the thumb and fingertips during childbirth. The pressure helps to extend the perineum, which reduces the likelihood of tearing during delivery.

The Ritgen maneuver is normally carried either by the obstetrician or the midwife who is present throughout the delivery. The technique entails placing the fingers of one hand on the perineum and the thumb of that same hand on the baby's head. The mother's perineum is supported from below by the other hand. As the baby's head emerges, mild pressure is provided to the perineum with the thumb and fingers, stretching the tissue and reducing the chance of tearing.


    The term "Ritgen's maneuver" refers to a method of fetal head extraction in which one hand is used to pull the fetal chin out from between the maternal anus and coccyx while the other is placed on the fetal occiput to regulate the rate of delivery.

    Ritgen Maneuver Definition, Purpose, Steps  Ritgen maneuver vs Modified Ritgen


    The Ritgen maneuver is a procedure that is used by both doctors and midwives to help deliver the baby's head. It entails providing upward pressure from the coccygeal region to stretch the head during delivery, protecting the perineum musculature. In the year 1855, Ferdinand August Marie Franz von Ritgen wrote about the procedure for the first time in a German journal titled "birth knowledge."

    The Modified Ritgen Manoeuvre, as opposed to the original Ritgen maneuver, is carried out without the woman pushing during a contraction. In 1971, Williams Obstetrics released edition 14, where it first described the modified Ritgen maneuver.


    The Ritgen maneuver is often carried out when the baby's head is just beginning to emerge during the pushing phase of labor. The general steps to execute the maneuver are as follows:

    When delivering a baby, a doctor or midwife places one hand on the infant's head and the other on the mother's perineum. The thumb is put on the perineum just above the anus, and the fingers on each side of the vaginal opening are positioned on the perineum.

    When the mother begins to push, the obstetrician or the midwife usually places their fingers and thumb on the perineum and applies a light but steady pressure to stretch the tissue.

    To allow the perineum to progressively stretch and minimize tearing, the obstetrician or midwife sometimes encourages the mother to temporarily stop pushing.

    After the head of the baby has been delivered, the obstetrician or midwife can take their hand off the baby's head and then use both hands to assist with the delivery of the baby's body.

    Following birth, the obstetrician or midwife examines the perineum for any tears or damage and, if necessary, administers the necessary care.

    Ritgen maneuver vs Modified ritgen

    The Ritgen maneuver is an obstetric procedure used during delivery to regulate the delivery of the fetal head and prevent perineal tears. The modified Ritgen maneuver is a variation of the original maneuver that is refined over time to enhance its efficacy in preventing perineal injuries. The modified Ritgen maneuver is carried out without the lady pushing, during a contraction as opposed to in between contractions.

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