The influence of prepregnancy body mass index on labor complications

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1999 Oct;78(9):799-802.


Background: To investigate the influence of Body Mass Index on the incidence of labor complications in a population of women with a normal pregnancy.

Material and methods: From a local database, information on maternal weight and height was extracted concerning 4258 women who had an uncomplicated pregnancy. After calculation and stratification with respect to Body Mass Index, this was retrospectively related to labor interventions and complications.

Results: High Body Mass Index was related to more oxytocin infusion and early amniotomy, but not to vacuum extraction or cesarean section. Primary inertia and, to a minor degree, cephalopelvic disproportion and secondary inertia were seen more often in women with high Body Mass Index.

Conclusions: Overweight (25.0<=BMI<30.0) and obesity (BMI>=30.0) are only weak predictors of labor complications, given a normal pregnancy. However, the heavy use of labor augmentation indicates that obese women should not be recommended to give birth in an ABC-clinic or at home.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies