The application of forceps is the most important numerically of the various procedures aiming at delivery, since every physician who does obstetric work includes the instrument in his armamentarium and holds himself in readiness to assist delivery with its help, even though it may be the only surgical operation he is inclined to undertake. The procedure is also unique in that it is frequently performed under conditions which would be deemed a bar to satisfactory surgical measures of any other form. That the results are not more disastrous is a tribute to the patience and skill of the host of general practitioners throughout the country.
The incidence of instrumental delivery varies considerably, depending on the individuality of the physician and the conditions under which he operates. A reasonable cross-section of medical practice in this regard has been provided by a study of the records of 40,143 births in Iowa during