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Forceps and vacuum: one goal, two entities


Damage to the pelvic floor during pregnancy and vaginal delivery is an inevitable consequence of the natural birthing process. As this damage is associated with functional and anatomical problems in later life, minimizing pelvic floor damage during pregnancy and vaginal delivery may serve as an important factor in the prevention of these unwanted sequelae. Operative vaginal delivery using forceps or vacuum extractor is common practice to achieve or expedite vaginal birth for maternal or fetal indications such as maternal exhaustion or fetal distress. However, operative vaginal delivery is associated with more extensive damage to the pelvic floor and perineal structures with forceps carrying a stronger risk compared to vacuum. The evidence on this subject is discussed with possible suggestions to minimize pelvic floor damage as much as possible.

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Correspondence to Jan Willem de Leeuw.

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de Leeuw, J.W., Daly, J.O. Forceps and vacuum: one goal, two entities. Int Urogynecol J 32, 2349–2352 (2021).

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  • Forceps
  • Vacuum
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Anal incontinence
  • Prolapse