University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Impact of Obesity on Cesarean Delivery Outcomes

Andrew J. Vegel, BS; Dana M. Benden, MD; Andrew J. Borgert, PhD; Kara J. Kallies, MS; Shanu N. Kothari, MD

WMJ. 2017;116(4):206-209.

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Background: The rate of cesarean delivery has increased over the last 2 decades. Obesity is a risk factor for complications during pregnancy and cesarean procedures. The objective of this study was to evaluate cesarean delivery outcomes in patients with vs without obesity, and determine the impact of obesity on complications.

Methods: The medical records of patients who underwent a cesarean delivery from 2010 to 2014 were reviewed. Patients were grouped by body mass index (BMI) into obese (≥30kg/m2) and non-obese (<30kg/m2) cohorts for comparison.

Results: Nine hundred seventy-one patients were included; 432 whom had obesity, and 539 did not have obesity. The rate of gestational diabetes was increased among patients with vs without obesity (15.3% vs 5.8%; P<0.001). Obesity was associated with an increased incidence of surgical site infections (8.1% vs 2.4%; P<0.001), yeast infection (2.8% vs 0.2%; P<0.001), and seroma (2.8% vs 0.4%; P=0.002). Obesity was an independent risk factor for surgical site infections, regardless of wound closure technique (adjusted odds ratio=3.24, 95% CI, 1.66-6.32; P<0.001).

Conclusions: Obesity is a risk factor for wound infections after a cesarean delivery. As obesity rates increase, it is important to be aware of these risks after performing a cesarean delivery.

Author Affiliations: Department of Medical Research, Gundersen Medical Foundation, La Crosse, Wis (Vegel, Borgert, Kallies); Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wis (Benden); Department of General and Vascular Surgery, Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wis (Kothari).
Corresponding Author: Shanu N. Kothari, MD, Gundersen Health System, Department of General Surgery, 1900 South Avenue C05-001, La Crosse, WI 54601; phone 608.775.5187; fax 608.775.7327; email
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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