Forceps and vacuum delivery: a survey of North American residency programs

Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Oct;88(4 Pt 1):622-5. doi: 10.1016/0029-7844(96)00208-6.


Objective: To document resident instruction in operative vaginal delivery by forceps and vacuum.

Methods: A survey was sent to all 291 obstetrics-gynecology training programs in the United States and Canada.

Results: The overall response rate was 72% (210 of 291). Most programs (60%) have an operative vaginal delivery rate of 10% or less. Nearly all of the responding programs (199 of 209, 95%) teach operative vaginal delivery via the vacuum route; metallic cups are used in only 14% of centers. Forceps are the primary instrument in most programs (68%), but nearly one-third of responding centers use the vacuum method more often than forceps. Instruction in midpelvic operative vaginal delivery is offered in 64% of the programs, with forceps being more common by nearly a two-to-one ratio. Deep transverse arrest is handled initially by forceps by half of the respondents, whereas 28 and 22% would proceed with cesarean or attempt a vacuum extraction, respectively.

Conclusion: Instruction in both types of operative vaginal delivery is found in most programs. The forceps are used more commonly, but vacuum is the preferred instrument in about one-third of training programs. Instruction in midpelvic delivery is offered in 64% of programs, but we noted a declining trend.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Extraction, Obstetrical / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Obstetrical Forceps* / statistics & numerical data
  • Obstetrics / education*
  • Pregnancy
  • United States
  • Vacuum Extraction, Obstetrical* / statistics & numerical data