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Forceps Delivery Workup

  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 29, 2016

Laboratory Studies

See the list below:

  • There is no specific laboratory test used prior to forceps delivery.

Imaging Studies

See the list below:

  • The decision for forceps delivery is often made in the second stage of labor when transport of the mother to other units is not practical and imaging studies may not be available quickly enough.
  • Although x-ray pelvimetry and pelvic MRI and CT scan have been shown to help in defining the pelvic anatomy, their usefulness has not been demonstrated in predicting successful vaginal delivery.
  • Ultrasonographic evaluation of the fetus may be of value in gathering information prior to a forceps delivery, although it is not required prior to forceps-assisted delivery. Ultrasonography can be used to estimate fetal size as well as to assess the position of the fetal head.
  • In general, evaluation of the patient for forceps delivery is purely clinical.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Michael G Ross, MD, MPH Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health at University of California at Los Angeles

Michael G Ross, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Phi Beta Kappa, Society for Reproductive Investigation, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society for Neuroscience, American Federation for Clinical Research, Perinatal Research Society, American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, American Physiological Society, American Public Health Association, Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Lumara Health; Cervilenz Inc<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Lumara Health; Cervilenz Inc.


Marie Helen Beall, MD Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Marie Helen Beall, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society of Human Genetics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Christine Isaacs, MD Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division Head, General Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Director of Midwifery Services, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Christine Isaacs, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Suzanne R Trupin, MD, FACOG Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign; CEO and Owner, Women's Health Practice; CEO and Owner, Hada Cosmetic Medicine and Midwest Surgical Center

Suzanne R Trupin, MD, FACOG is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, International Society for Clinical Densitometry, AAGL, North American Menopause Society, American Medical Association, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author, Aram Bonni, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

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An illustration of Simpson forceps.
The anterior view of a pelvis.
The inferior view of a pelvis.
The sagittal section of a pelvis.
An illustration of a forceps delivery technique.
The left handle is held in the left hand (Simpson forceps).
The left blade is introduced into the left side of the pelvis.
The left blade is in place and the right blade is introduced by the right hand.
A median or mediolateral episiotomy may be performed at this point. A left mediolateral episiotomy is shown here.
The forceps have been locked. The inset shows a left occipitoanterior fetal position.
An illustration of horizontal traction with the operator seated.
An illustration of upward traction.
An illustration of disarticulation of the branches of the forceps; beginning modified Ritgen maneuver.
An illustration of Simpson forceps with a Luikart modification.
An illustration of Kjelland forceps with a Luikart modification.
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