Introduction: Obese primiparous women with induction of labor are at high risk for a cesarean section. There are contradictory results regarding time in induced labor in relation to maternal body mass index (BMI). It is important to characterize the course of induced labor to prevent unnecessary cesarean section. We aimed to evaluate whether the duration of labor was associated with maternal BMI in primiparous women with induction of labor.
Material and methods: A national retrospective cohort study, including 15 259 primiparae with a single term pregnancy, admitted for induction of labor from January 2014 to August 2017. Data were obtained from the Swedish Pregnancy Registry. Cox regression analyses were used to illustrate the association between BMI and active labor and between BMI and time from admission until start of active labor.
Results: Duration of active labor was shorter in underweight women and prolonged in women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 compared with women in other BMI classes, illustrated by Cox regression graphs (P < .001). The median durations of active labor in underweight women were 6.1 and 7.4 hours in women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 . The time from admission until start of active labor increased with maternal BMI, illustrated by Cox regression graphs (P < .001) and the median duration increased from 12.9 hours in underweight women to 22.6 hours in women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 . The cesarean section rate in active labor increased significantly with BMI (P < .001) from 7.4% in underweight women to 22.0% in women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 . Obese and normal weight women had similar rates of spontaneous vaginal delivery (69.9% in the total study population).
Conclusions: The duration of active labor was associated with maternal BMI for underweight women and women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 . Although women with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 who reached the active phase of labor had the same chance for a spontaneous vaginal delivery as normal weight women, the duration of active labor and the cesarean section rate were increased. The time from admission until start of active labor increased successively with maternal BMI.
Keywords: active phase of labor; cesarean section; duration of labor; induction of labor; obesity.
© 2019 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.