UCL News


Four factors tied to need for cesarean delivery

13 March 2006

The likelihood that a pregnant woman will have to undergo an unplanned c-section delivery after starting labor can be predicted by four parameters, British researchers have shown.

Dr Elizabeth Peregrine [UCL Obstetrics & Gynaecology] and colleagues … studied 267 women at 36 weeks gestation or later who were scheduled for induction of labor.

Eighty women (30 percent) ended up having an emergency cesarean.
Of all the measures assessed, four factors in particular were strongly tied to the need for a c-section.

Having never had a previous pregnancy raised the chances 20-fold. A body mass index over 30 (obese) was tied to 6-fold greater risk, while being tall reduced the chances slightly. Finally, a longer cervix measured by ultrasound was associated with a higher chance of having a cesarean.

When these factors were considered together they were "reasonably" accurate in predicting who would undergo a cesarean, Peregrine's team reports in the medical journal 'Obstetrics & Gynecology'. …

Before the study's findings can be used to counsel women, they need to be validated, she added, and that is under way. If the results prove accurate, women could be told their risk of having an emergency cesarean delivery - and those at high risk could be offered the chance to have a planned c-section.
Reuters Health, 13 March 2006