Massive maternal obesity and perioperative cesarean morbidity

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Feb;170(2):560-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(94)70227-6.


Objective: Our purpose was to determine the impact of massive maternal obesity (weight > 300 pounds) on perioperative morbidity among patients undergoing cesarean section.

Study design: A case-control study was conducted on 43 massively obese pregnant women, identified by perinatal database search, who were delivered by cesarean section between Jan. 1, 1987, and Dec. 31, 1991, at Long Beach Memorial Women's Hospital. Forty-three randomly selected patients who underwent cesarean delivery served as the control group. Medical records were abstracted for perioperative variables and compared between groups. Student t test, chi 2, and Fisher's exact statistical analysis were used where appropriate.

Results: No significant differences were observed between groups for maternal age, parity, use of prophylactic antibiotics, length of recovery room stay, or wound dehiscence. The massively obese group was observed to be at significantly increased risk for emergency cesarean section (32.6% vs 9.3%, p = 0.02), prolonged delivery interval (25.6% vs 4.6%, p = 0.01), and total operative time (48.8% vs 9.3%, p < 0.0001), blood loss > 1000 ml (34.9% vs 9.3%, p = 0.009), multiple epidural placement failures (14.0% vs 0%, p = 0.02), postoperative endometritis (32.6% vs 4.9%, p = 0.002), and prolonged hospitalization (34.9% vs 2.3%, p = 0.0003).

Conclusion: Massively obese pregnant women undergoing cesarean section are at significantly increased risk for perioperative morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Endometritis / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*