The prevalence of obesity has reached pandemic proportions across nations. Morbid obesity has a dramatic impact on pregnancy outcome. Cesarean section in these women poses many surgical, anesthetic, and logistical challenges. In view of the increased risk of cesarean delivery in morbidly obese women, the practical implications and complications are reviewed in this article. A Medline search was conducted to review the recent relevant articles in english literature on cesarean section in morbidly obese women. The types of incisions and techniques used during cesarean delivery, intra-operative and postpartum complications, anesthetic and logistical issues, maternal morbidity and mortality were reviewed. Morbidly obese women with a body mass index (BMI >40 kg/m(2) are at increased risk of pregnancy complications and a significantly increased rate of cesarean delivery. Low transverse skin incisions and transverse uterine incisions are definitely superior and must be the first option. Closure of the subcutaneous layer is recommended, but the placement of subcutaneous drains remains controversial. Thromboprophylaxis adjusted to body weight and prophylactic antibiotics help in reducing postpartum morbidity. Morbidly obese women are at increased risk of postpartum infectious morbidity. Weight reduction in the postpartum period and thereafter must be strongly encouraged for optimal future pregnancy outcomes and well-being.
Keywords: Anesthesia; Cesarean section; Morbid obesity; Postoperative complications; Postpartum morbidity; Pregnancy.