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Linear association between maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and risk of caesarean section in term deliveries

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Maternal obesity is a well-known risk factor for caesarean delivery. The aim of this study is to determine whether all the spectrum of pre-pregnancy maternal corpulence (body mass index [BMI]) is associated with the risk of caesarean delivery. Design

Observational study over 4.5 years (2001–05). Setting

Groupe Hospitalier Sud-Réunion’s maternity (island of La Réunion, French overseas department, Indian Ocean). Population

All consecutive singleton live births having delivered at the maternity. Methods

Data have been analysed according to different risk factors. Maternal corpulence has been defined as the maternal pre-pregnancy weight. BMIs have been studied by multiples of 5 kg/m2 from 10–14.9 kg/m2 to 40–44.9 kg/m2. Main outcome measure

Rate of caesarean section. Results

There were 17 462 singleton live births during the period, of which 16 952 (97.1% of the total) pre-pregnancy BMIs have been determined. There is a linear association (2 for linear trend, P < 0.001) between maternal corpulence and risk of caesarean deliveries, the leanest mothers having the best rate of vaginal delivery. This linear association exists in a model controlling for diagnosis of gestational diabetes, term deliveries (≥37 weeks), very short maternal height (<1.50 m), primiparity and maternal age ≥ 35 years (adjusted 2, P < 0.001). Conclusion

There is a significant linear association between pre-pregnancy maternal corpulence and risk of caesarean deliveries in pregnancies at term. The authors discuss several interpretations including the adaptability of fetal birthweights to maternal corpulence and the concept of soft-tissue dystocia.

Keywords: Body mass index; caesarean delivery; dystocia; obesity; overweight; pre-pregnancy adiposity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Service de Gynécologie et Obstétrique, Groupe Hospitalier Sud Réunion, Saint-Pierre Cedex, La Réunion, France 2: Division of Pediatric Epidemiology, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA 3: Institut Mère Enfant Alix de Champagne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Cognacq-Jay, Reims Cedex, France 4: Service de Néonatologie, Groupe Hospitalier Sud Réunion, Saint-Pierre Cedex, La Réunion, France

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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