[Maternal obesity: effects on labor and delivery: Excluding other diseases that might modify obstetrical management]

J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2005 Apr;34(2):109-14. doi: 10.1016/s0368-2315(05)82702-4.
[Article in French]


Aims: The aim of this survey was to analyze the effects on labor, delivery, afterbirth, and neonatal status of maternal obesity, independently of other diseases that might modify obstetrical management.

Population and methods: Cross-sectional survey of cases during one year in the obstetrics department of a university hospital center. The inclusion criterion was obesity, defined as BMI > 30. The exclusion criteria were hypertension, pregnancy-related hypoxemia, diabetes (pre-existing or pregnancy-related), maternal cardio-pulmonary disease, uterine scar, multiple pregnancy, and non-cephalic presentation. Two groups, one obese and the other not, were matched for age and parity.

Results: The rate of post-term deliveries was higher among obese women (p = 0.04), induction of labor more frequent (p = 0.05), and the duration of its first phase longer (p = 0.003); the cesarean rate was seven times higher (14.6% versus 2.1%) and the mean weight of the newborns significantly higher (p = 0.01). Multivariate analysis found the following factors to be significantly associated with maternal obesity: longer duration of the first phase of labor, less frequent spontaneous vaginal delivery, higher cesarean rate, and higher rate of lack of progress in dilatation.

Conclusion: This study shows that maternal obesity is a risk factor for complications during pregnancy, independently of its standard complications--pregnancy-related diabetes and hypertension. It compromises the smooth progression of labor and delivery. Pregnancy in obese women must be considered to be "at risk", regardless of any complications of obesity. It is thus important to help obese women become more aware of the importance of a balanced diet for themselves and their children. The presence of an obese adult in the household quadruples the risk of obesity in children.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity*
  • Parturition
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Retrospective Studies