Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Kielland's forceps: association with neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 06 January 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:7
  1. M L Chiswick,
  2. D K James


    The incidence of certain neonatal complications associated with the use of Kielland's forceps was analyzed retrospectively in liveborn singleton babies delivered at this hospital between January and December 1976. The neonatal mortality rate attributable to use of the forceps was 34.9 per 1000. The incidences of delayed onset of respiration (17.4%), birth trauma (15.1%), and abnormal neurological behaviour--namely, apathy or irritability or both--(23.3%) significantly exceeded those in a matched group of babies born spontaneously. Fetal asphyxia played a major part in the aetiology of neonatal complications. Babies on whom Kielland's forceps were used, however, had a significantly greater incidence of abnormal neurological behaviour even in the absence of fetal asphyxia (14.3%), and in all of these babies the abnormal behaviour was transient and did not necessitate admission to the special-care baby unit. Neither maternal height nor the infant's birth weight or occipitofrontal head circumference influenced the occurrence of neonatal complications. The results also suggest that neither the speed of cervical dilatation nor the timing of engagement of the fetal head is of help in predicting the occurrence of neonatal complications after the use of Kielland's forceps.