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Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Aug;15(7):467-74.

Maternal pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity and the risk of cesarean delivery in nulliparous women.

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  • 1Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



To examine the effect of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity on the risk of term cesarean delivery in nulliparous women.


The authors examined data from 641 nulliparous women with a term pregnancy that participated in the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study from 1995 to 2002. Unadjusted and adjusted risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed for normal weight (BMI 19.8-26.0 kg/m(2)), overweight (BMI 26.1-29.0 kg/m(2)), and obese (BMI>29.0 kg/m(2)) women. Normal weight women served as the referent population.


The unadjusted risk ratio for cesarean delivery for overweight women compared with normal weight women was 1.4 (95% CI, 0.97, 2.1) and for obese women compared with normal weight women was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.03, 2.0). After controlling for maternal height, education, weight gain during pregnancy, and labor induction, the adjusted risk ratio for cesarean delivery among overweight women was 1.2 (95% CI, 0.8, 1.8). The adjusted risk ratio for obese women was 1.5 (95% CI, 1.05, 2.0).


Our analysis confirms that there is a moderate association between maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and an unplanned term cesarean delivery. However, the risk is not as large as previously reported.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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