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Caesarean sections are associated with sonographic determined fetal size from the second trimester onwards

  • Kirchengast, Sylvia1
  • Hartmann, Beda
  • 1 University of Vienna, Austria , (Austria)
Published Article
Anthropological Review
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
DOI: 10.2478/anre-2020-0012
De Gruyter


Human birth represents a critical and life-threatening event in the life of mother and child and is therefore of special importance for anthropological as well as public health research. Study aims: to analyze the association patterns between fetal biometry and delivery modes from the first trimester onwards. In this electronic medical record-based study, a dataset of 3408 singleton term birth taking place at the Viennese Danube hospital in Austria. was analyzed. Fetal biometry was reconstructed by the results of three ultrasound examinations carried out at the 11th/12th, 20th/21th and 32th/33thweek of gestation. In detail, crown-rump length, biparietal diameter, fronto-occipital diameter, head circumference, abdominal trans-verse diameter, abdominal sagittal diameter, abdominal circumference, and femur length were determined. Birth weight, birth length and head circumference were measured immediately after birth. Four delivery modes were compared: spontaneous vaginal birth, instrumental vaginal birth, planned cesarean section and emergency cesarean section. The total cesarean section rate was 10.2%. Fetal biometry and newborn size differed significantly between the four delivery modes. From the second trimester onward, head circumferences were significantly larger (p=0.005) among fetuses delivered by instrumental delivery or emergency cesarean section than among fetuses delivered by spontaneous vaginal birth. The fetal abdominal dimensions during the third trimester were significantly largest (p=0.001) among fetuses delivered by emergency cesarean section. In comparison to spontaneous vaginal delivery the risk to require instrumental delivery increased significantly with increasing fetal head dimensions at the second (p=0.019) and third trimester(p=0.032) independent of maternal somatic factors. The risk of emergency CS increased significantly with increasing head dimensions (p=0.030) as well as abdominal dimensions (p=0.001) at the third trimester and newborn size (p=0.002), also independently of maternal somatic factors. In general, larger fetuses are on an increased risk of experiencing instrumental delivery or emergency caesarean section. This association between fetal size and delivery mode is detectable from the second trimester onwards.

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