Preferences and comfort of maternal fetal medicine fellows in the United States with operative vaginal deliveries

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2020 Sep 10;1-6. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2020.1817894. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the current landscape of vacuum and forceps-assisted vaginal delivery (FAVD) preferences and comfort across maternal fetal medicine (MFM) fellows in the United States (U.S.).

Methods: A survey was sent to MFM fellowship program directors for distribution to current MFM fellows across U.S. Geographic regions, as determined using Census Bureau-designated regions. The survey looked at comfort and experience with FAVDs and vacuum-assisted vaginal deliveries (VAVD) throughout their post-graduate training. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze survey responses. Respondents were compared by post-graduate year (PGY) and region.

Results: One hundred six MFM fellows (32%) completed the survey. 22.6% of MFM fellows had performed greater than 30 FAVDs, with 33% having performed ≤10 FAVDs. In comparison, 35.8% of fellows had performed more than 30 VAVDs. While 95.2% of fellows feel prepared to perform a VAVD independently, only 59.4% feel prepared to do FAVDs independently. Never the less, 53% of MFM fellows favor performing a FAVD. While some regional differences were seen, there was no significant difference in the percent of fellows by geographic region who have performed >30 FAVD (p = .87). MFM fellows in the West are most likely to have performed >30 FAVD at 57.8%, compared to 42.3, 35, and 11.4% in the Midwest, South, and Northeast, respectively.

Conclusion: MFM fellows are more confident with VAVD compared to FAVD. Despite feeling less confident performing FAVD (versus VAVD), the majority of MFM fellows feel comfortable performing FAVDs independently. Region of training fellowship training does not significantly affect one's confidence in FAVDs. A coordinated nationwide effort to increase exposure to and confidence for FAVDs should be considered.

Keywords: Obstetrics; forceps-assisted vaginal delivery; medical education; operative vaginal delivery; surgical obstetrics.