Forceps delivery for non-rotational and rotational operative vaginal delivery

Mairead Black, Deirdre J. Murphy (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Forceps are a commonly used instrument for assisting vaginal birth. Accepted indications include prolonged labour, suspected foetal distress and maternal medical conditions that benefit from a shortened second stage of labour. Maternal and offspring outcomes of forceps-assisted birth have been extensively reported in observational studies, but randomised trial evidence is limited. Forceps-assisted delivery has a lower failure rate than vacuum-assisted delivery but is associated with a higher incidence of maternal pelvic floor trauma. Second-stage caesarean section is associated with less foetal-neonatal trauma than forceps-assisted delivery but markedly reduces the chance of a subsequent vaginal birth. This review outlines the existing evidence on prevention, indications and contraindications for forceps-assisted birth (non-rotational and rotational), short- and long-term complications for mother and baby, alternatives to use of forceps and how to manage an abandoned forceps-assisted birth. The essential components of informed consent are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalBest Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Early online date11 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • Forceps-assisted delivery
  • Rotational forceps
  • Sequential instruments
  • Second-stage caesarean birth
  • Foetal impaction


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