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Kjelland's forceps in the new millennium. Maternal and neonatal outcomes of attempted rotational forceps delivery


: Associate Professor Stephen Robson, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Canberra Hospital, PO Box 11, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia. Email:


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.

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