Background: Shoulder dystocia (ShD) and cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) share some common risk factors. Whether infant male sex is an independent risk factor for ShD, or if the risk is confounded by other known factors, is uncertain.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the unconfounded effect of infant male sex on the risk for ShD and its interaction with other risk factors compared with CPD.
Methods: A retrospective data analysis was conducted of deliveries in Lamphun Hospital, Lamphun, Thailand. All vaginal deliveries complicated by ShD were collected as ShD cases. All labors terminated by cesarean delivery (CD) due to CPD were collected as CD/CPD cases. Vaginal deliveries that took place immediately before or after the index ShD cases were collected as controls. Multivariable adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for infant male sex and its 95% CI in cases of ShD and CD/CPD were computed by multichotomous logistic regression controlling for other obstetric risks. The effects of maternal height, gestational age, and birth weight on the risk for ShD or CD/CPD among male or female infants was also explored. Stability of the effect of the risk between male and female infants was tested with Chow tests.
Results: Thirty-five ShD cases and 199 CD/CPD cases were collected, as were 586 controls. Infant male sex was a significant independent risk factor for ShD (AOR = 5.00; 95% CI, 1.83-13.61; P = 0.002), but not for CD/CPD (AOR = 1.09; 95% CI, 0.75-1.59; P = NS). For CD/CPD, the effects of maternal height, gestational age, and birth weight were similar for male and female infants, but the corresponding effect on ShD was more pronounced in male than in female infants (P < 0.001 for all comparisons).
Conclusions: Infant male sex is a risk factor for ShD independent of other known risks. Male sex also amplified the existing effects of short maternal height, extended gestational age, and greater birth weight. If infant sex is known to be male before delivery, the obstetrician may consider avoiding vaginal delivery in mothers who have other strong risks for ShD.
Copyright 2010. Published by Elsevier Inc.