Resident and program director confidence in resident preparedness for operative vaginal deliveries in Obstetrics and Gynecology Training Programs in the United States

Georgios Doulaveris, Karen E. George, Gregory M. Gressel, Erika Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Operative vaginal delivery is used to expedite a safe vaginal delivery in the second stage of labor and is considered an essential part of residency training in obstetrics and gynecology. OBJECTIVE: To assess the self-reported readiness of obstetrics and gynecology residents in the United States to perform vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery and forceps-assisted vaginal delivery compared with the perceptions of program directors. STUDY DESIGN: The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology surveyed the residents in all US training programs about their readiness to perform forceps-assisted and vacuum-assisted deliveries. The program directors were simultaneously surveyed about the readiness of their cohort to perform operative deliveries with and without attending oversight. The primary outcome of the survey was the residents’ self-reported confidence in their ability to autonomously and independently perform operative deliveries. RESULTS: Α total of 5084 out of 5514 (92.9%) resident physicians and 241 out of the 292 (83%) residency program directors completed the survey. Eighty-seven percent (95% confidence interval, 84.9–88.9) of the graduating residents reported feeling that they could autonomously perform a vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery, compared with 49.5% (95% confidence interval, 46.6–52.4) for forceps-assisted vaginal delivery (P<.01). Similarly, whereas 95.9% (95% confidence interval, 94.6–97.0) of the residents felt that they could confidently perform an emergency vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery, only 42.3% (95% confidence interval, 39.4–45.2) felt confident performing an emergency forceps-assisted vaginal delivery (P<.01). The residency program directors significantly overestimated their residents’ confidence in independently performing an emergency forceps-assisted vaginal delivery or vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery than the residents themselves (54% [95% confidence interval, 47.1–60.5] vs 24% [95% confidence interval, 22.5–24.9] and 98.6% [95% confidence interval, 97.0–100] vs 71.9 [95% confidence interval, 70.6–73.2] respectively P<.01). Trainees in military-based residency programs and those interested in pursuing a career as generalists or maternal-fetal medicine specialists reported significantly higher preparedness to perform a forceps-assisted vaginal delivery. CONCLUSION: Graduating obstetrics and gynecology residents report feeling less prepared to independently perform a forceps-assisted vaginal delivery than a vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery. The program directors had more confidence in the ability of their residents to perform an operative vaginal delivery than the residents themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100505
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology MFM
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • forceps
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • operative vaginal delivery
  • residency
  • vacuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • General Medicine


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