Forceps and vacuum delivery: Expectations of residency and fellowship training program directors

Gary D.V. Hankins, Eda Uckan, Thomas F. Rowe, Susan Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to compare current forceps training practices in North American obstetrical residency training programs with that in maternal-fetal medicine fellowship programs. We sent a survey to all obstetrics and gynecology residency training programs and to all maternal- fetal medicine fellowship programs in North America. After sending out 354 questionnaires, 219 were returned for a response rate of 62%. The response rate for fellowship programs (52 of 59; 88%) was significantly greater than that of residency training programs (167 of 295; 56.6%) (p < 0.05). All fellowship training programs were using the 1988 ACOG forceps classification system, as were 98% of the residency training programs. Eighty-five percent of fellowship directors and 80% of residency directors felt the same system should be used for vacuum deliveries. All residency and fellowship directors expected proficiency with both instruments for outlet deliveries. For low deliveries requiring ≤45°of rotation, at least 92% expected proficiency with both instruments. For low-forceps deliveries with >45°of rotation, 82% of fellowship directors and 80% of residency directors expected proficiency. For low-vacuum deliveries with >45°of rotation, 80% of fellowship directors and 76% of residency directors expected proficiency. Significantly more fellowship directors expected midforceps proficiency (47%) than did residency program directors (38%) (p < 0.05). Midvacuum proficiency was expected by 73% of fellowship directors and 69% of residency directors. The ACOG 1988 forceps classification system has now achieved wide acceptance and is taught by both residency and fellowship program directors. Most program directors favor using the same classification system for vacuum extraction deliveries. In general, the expectations of the residency program directors mirror those of maternal-fetal medicine fellowship directors. While outlet and low operations with ≤45°of rotation are taught and proficiency is expected, most programs no longer expect proficiency in midforceps delivery, but do expect proficiency in midvacuum delivery. Proficiency in low operations with rotations ≤45°is still expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Operative delivery competency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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