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Soft Versus Rigid Vacuum Extractor Cups for Assisted Vaginal Delivery

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A substantive amendment to this systematic review was last made on 31 December 1998. ABSTRACT

Background and objectives: Proponents of vacuum delivery argue that it should be chosen first for assisted vaginal delivery, because it is less likely to injure the mother. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of vacuum extraction compared to forceps, on failure to achieve delivery and maternal and neonatal morbidity.

Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register.

Selection criteria: Acceptably controlled comparisons of vacuum extraction and forceps delivery.

Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information.

Main results: Ten trials were included. The trials were of reasonable quality. Use of the vacuum extractor for assisted vaginal delivery when compared to forceps delivery was associated with significantly less maternal trauma (odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.33–0.50) and with less general and regional anaesthesia. There were more deliveries with vacuum extraction (odds ratio 1.69, 95% confidence interval 1.31–2.19). Fewer caesarean sections were carried out in the vacuum extractor group. However, the vacuum extractor was associated with an increase in neonatal cephalhaematomata and retinal haemorrhages. Serious neonatal injury was uncommon with either instrument.

Reviewers' conclusions: Use of the vacuum extractor rather than forceps for assisted delivery appears to reduce maternal morbidity. The reduction in cephalhaematoma and retinal haemorrhages seen with forceps may be a compensatory benefit.

Citation: Johanson RB, Menon BKV. Vacuum extraction versus forceps for assisted vaginal delivery (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 2, 1999. Oxford: Update Software.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2000

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