Background: The use of Kjelland's forceps is now uncommon, and published maternal and neonatal outcome data are from deliveries conducted more than a decade ago. The role of Kjelland's rotational delivery in the ‘modern era’ of high caesarean section rates is unclear.
Aims: To compare the results of attempted Kjelland's forceps rotational delivery with other methods of instrumental delivery in a tertiary hospital.
Methods: Retrospective review of all instrumental deliveries for singleton pregnancies 34 or more weeks gestation in a four-year birth cohort, with reference to adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.
Results: The outcomes of 1067 attempted instrumental deliveries were analysed. Kjelland's forceps were successful in 95% of attempts. Kjelland's forceps deliveries had a rate of adverse maternal outcomes indistinguishable from non-rotational ventouse, and lower than all other forms of instrumental delivery. Kjelland's forceps also had a lower rate of adverse neonatal outcomes than all other forms of instrumental delivery.
Conclusions: Prudent use of Kjelland's forceps by experienced operators is associated with a very low rate of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Training in this important obstetric skill should be reconsidered urgently, before it is lost forever.