Introduction Evidence suggests that delivery by caesarean section in obese women (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30kg/m2) carries a higher risk of postoperative complications.
Aim This study tested the hypothesis that overweight (BMI 25-29.9kg/m2) and obese pregnant women have more post caesarean section complications than pregnant women of recommended BMI (18.5-24.9kg/m2) resulting in a longer length of stay in hospital.
Methods Using a piloted proforma, we undertook a case note review of a sample of women with a singleton pregnancy, aged ≥ 16 years and delivered by caesarean section in a district general hospital in 2008.
Results A total of 205 case notes were reviewed (27.9%) of all caesarean section deliveries in (DGH) in 2008. Overall, 86 (42.0%) women were of recommended BMI, 54 (26.3%) were overweight and 65 (31.7%) were obese. Thirty eight (58.5%) obese women stayed in hospital for ≥ 3 days compared to 27 (50%) overweight and 42 (49.4%) women of recommended BMI. However, none of these findings reached statistical significance. Fourteen (22.2%) obese women had a wound infection compared to five (9.3%) overweight and 17(20.2%) women of recommended BMI. Of these, 13 (92.2%) obese women received antibiotics for ≥7 days compared to three (75.0%) overweight and 11 (68.8%) women of recommended BMI.
Conclusion We did not find significant differences in postoperative complications and length of stay in hospital between overweight and obese pregnant women compared to women of recommended BMI.
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