Rotational vaginal delivery with Kielland's forceps: a systematic review and meta-analysis of effectiveness and safety outcomes

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Purpose of review

The use of Kielland's forceps has declined significantly in the last three decades. There is a lack of quality evidence on potential benefits and harms associated with using these forceps. We have performed a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis to assess the safety and efficacy of using Kielland's forceps.

Recent findings

We have searched electronic databases for all clinical studies reporting primary data on using Kielland's forceps and assessed their risk of bias using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale. We have pooled the event rate of adverse outcomes reported following the use of Kielland's forceps including a direct comparison to rotational ventouse. In total we included 23 studies. Direct comparison meta-analysis revealed higher failure rate with rotational ventouse compared with Kielland's. There was no statistically significant difference in the risk of adverse maternal outcomes between the two groups. There was higher risk of neonatal trauma in the ventouse group, but no significant difference in other neonatal outcomes.


Kielland's forceps have a high success rate with relatively low adverse outcomes despite their use being controversial. In comparison to rotational ventouse, Kielland's forceps have higher efficacy with less risk of neonatal trauma.

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