Cephalic Elevation Device for Second-Stage Cesarean Delivery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Apr;135(4):879-884. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003746.


Objective: A cephalic elevation device is an inflatable device that elevates the fetal head. We sought to evaluate whether such a device reduces time to delivery after hysterotomy and lowers morbidity in cesarean deliveries during the second stage of labor.

Methods: We conducted a double-blind randomized controlled trial among nulliparous, term women aged 18-50 years with vertex singleton pregnancies. Women were eligible if they were to undergo cesarean delivery in the second stage of labor. All participating women had the cephalic elevation device inserted by the delivering provider and were randomly allocated to inflation or noninflation of the device. Inflation was performed in a blinded fashion. The primary outcome was time from hysterotomy to delivery. A sample size of 30 per group (N=60 participants) was planned to detect a 50% decrease in time to delivery after hysterotomy with cephalic elevation device inflation.

Results: From January 2018 through July 2019, 60 women who underwent cesarean delivery in the second stage were randomized. Analysis was by intention to treat. Women in the inflation group were older (33 vs 30.5 years), but the groups were otherwise similar. In both groups, most women had a low-transverse hysterotomy (93%). The median time from hysterotomy to delivery was significantly shorter in the inflation group (31 vs 54 seconds; P<.01). There was no significant difference in neonatal outcomes.

Conclusion: Use of the cephalic elevation device during second-stage cesarean delivery led to a 23-second reduction time from hysterotomy to delivery.

Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03342508.

Funding source: The cephalic elevation devices used in this study were donated by Safe Obstetrics Systems.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / instrumentation*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Stage, Second*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03342508