Assisted vaginal delivery in the obese patient

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2023 Dec:91:102403. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2023.102403. Epub 2023 Aug 22.


Appropriate use of ventouse or obstetric forceps as options in the management of the second-stage of labor is good medical practice. The instruments are not inherently dangerous, however, the manner in which they are used may be. In addition to a working knowledge of the instruments, the operator must have the willingness to abandon an unsuccessful procedure. Awareness that failure of assisted vaginal delivery is more likely in women with BMI >30, hence, gives pause to consider trial in theatre with early recourse to cesarean delivery if unsuccessful Awareness that obesity is associated with increased risk of intrapartum complications, such as the need for second-stage assistance to achieve delivery, shoulder dystocia and postnatal complications, such as obstetric anal sphincter injury and febrile morbidity.

Keywords: Assisted vaginal delivery; Obesity; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Parturition
  • Pregnancy