Short statured primigravidae: Options for the obstetric management from a survey of UK obstetricians (2021)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Rachaneni S.; Gurol-Urganci I.; Basu M.; Thakar R.; Sultan A.; Freeman R.

European Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Biology; Jan 2021; vol. 256 ; p. 379-384

Objective: To assess the current antenatal and intrapartum management options for primigravid women of short stature with a clinically large fetus by a survey of UK Obstetricians. Study design: An online survey comprised of 15 questions including the options on timing and mode of delivery, counselling about the risk of long-term pelvic floor morbidity following spontaneous vaginal and instrumental deliveries, choice of instruments and the role of episiotomy. The survey was sent to the participants as a part of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Newsletter between September 2017 to October 2018. The scenario described was of a primigravid short stature woman (i.e. height of 160 cm or less) who presents with a clinically large fetus at 38 weeks gestation. Result(s): 424 Obstetricians participated in the survey. The participation ratio cannot be identified as the survey was emailed as a part of the RCOG Newsletter. Sixty five percent respondents stated that they would scan for estimated fetal weight, 48 % would offer induction of labour at 40 weeks and 14 % would offer an elective/planned caesarean section (CS) at 39-40 weeks. Fifty nine percent would discuss all these risks: obstructed labour, shoulder dystocia, instrumental delivery and obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI). 73 % would not discuss the long-term risks of urinary and/or faecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. In the presence of failure to progress in the second stage of labour, 69 % would attempt a rotational instrumental delivery and 5% would offer a caesarean section. Manual rotation and ‘straight’ forceps application were the most frequent type of rotational delivery, followed by Ventouse and Kiellands forceps. Thirty four percent stated that they do not routinely perform an episiotomy in this scenario. Seventy three percent stated that their choice of instrument was not based on the long-term risk of urinary and faecal incontinence. Conclusion(s): The results suggest that 40 % of the respondents would not discuss all of the complications after vaginal delivery in women of short stature. The most common delivery option would be vaginal delivery.