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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Jun;106(6):544-9.

Maternal and child health after assisted vaginal delivery: five-year follow up of a randomised controlled study comparing forceps and ventouse.

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Keele University Centre for Maternal and Child Health, North Staffordshire Hospital Trust, Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK.



To undertake a five year follow up of a cohort of women and children delivered by forceps or vacuum extractor in a randomised controlled study.


Follow up of a randomised controlled trial.


District general hospital in the West Midlands.


Follow up questionnaires were sent to 306 of the 313 women originally recruited at the North Staffordshire Hospital to a randomised controlled study comparing forceps and vacuum extractor for assisted delivery. Two hundred and twenty-eight women responded (74.5%) and all were included in the study; forceps (n = 115) and vacuum extractor (n = 113).


Bowel and urinary dysfunction, child vision assessment, and child development.


Maternal adverse symptoms at long term follow up were relatively common. Urinary incontinence of various severity was reported by 47%, bowel habit urgency was reported by 44% (98/225), and loss of bowel control 'sometimes' or 'frequently' by 20% of women (46/226). No significant differences between instruments were found in terms of either bowel or urinary dysfunction. Overall, 13% (20/158) of children were noted to have visual problems. There was no significant difference in visual function between the two groups: ventouse 11/86 (12.8%), compared with forceps 9/72 (12.5%); odds ratio 0.97, 95% CI 0.38-2.50. Of the 20 children with visual problems, a family history was known in 18, and 17/18 (94%) had a positive family history for visual problems. No significant differences in child development were found between the two groups.


There is no evidence to suggest that at five years after delivery use of the ventouse or forceps has specific maternal or child benefits or side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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