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Tool to Aid Mechanically Difficult Birth

Team Members:
  • Tonia Wu
  • Garren Angacian
  • Ashley Cook
  • Gaby Frid
  • Woojin Kim
  • Jennifer Hui
  • Barry Leybovich
  • Molly Moore
  • James Verdone
  • Edith Gurewitsch


Instrument-assisted vaginal delivery occurs in 7.4% of births in the United States; while it is safer than a cesarean section, instrument-assisted vaginal delivery requires significant skill and experience. Forceps delivery carries a 3.7 odds ratio of 3rd and 4th degree perineal lacerations over spontaneous vaginal delivery. These lacerations and stretching of the pelvic floor muscles can lead to increased risk of long-term complications with treatment amounting up to $40,000 over time. To assist obstetricians during forceps delivery, we plan to design and develop an instrument that will mitigate the risks of complications to the mother while safely delivering the fetus. The project aims to quantify the safe range of angle of traction and the point in which the fetal head clears the pubic symphysis during an instrument-assisted vaginal delivery. Our device will guide the physicians during the backward traction of the obstetric forceps by providing physicians with real-time feedback of angle of trajectory and position of the forceps in relative to the mother’s pubic bone. Efficacy will be demonstrated by a comparative study of the new device and classical forceps as applied to birth simulators. We aim to design a tool that will improve clinical techniques and clinical outcome significantly.

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