Maternal Body Mass Index and Use of Labor Neuraxial Analgesia: A Population-based Retrospective Cohort Study

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Abstract

Background:

Neuraxial labor analgesia may benefit obese women by optimizing cardiorespiratory function and mitigating complications related to emergency general anesthesia. We hypothesized that obese women have a higher rate of neuraxial analgesia compared with nonobese parturients.

Methods:

Using U.S. natality data, our cohort comprised 17,220,680 deliveries, which accounts for 61.5% of 28 million births in the United States between 2009 and 2015. We examined the relationships between body mass index class and neuraxial labor analgesia, adjusting for sociodemographic, antenatal, pregnancy, and peripartum factors.

Results:

The study cohort comprised 17,220,680 women; 0.1% were underweight, 12.7% were normal body mass index, 37% were overweight, and 28.3%, 13.5%, and 8.4% were obesity class I, II, and III, respectively. Rates of neuraxial analgesia by body mass index class were as follows: underweight, 59.7% (9,030/15,128); normal body mass index, 68.1% (1,487,117/2,182,797); overweight, 70.3% (4,476,685/6,368,656); obesity class I, 71.8% (3,503,321/4,881,938); obesity class II, 73.4% (1,710,099/2,330,028); and obesity class III, 75.6% (1,089,668/1,442,133). Compared to women with normal body mass index, the likelihood of receiving neuraxial analgesia was slightly increased for overweight women (adjusted relative risk, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.02), obese class I (adjusted relative risk, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.04), obese class II (adjusted relative risk, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.05), and obese class III (adjusted relative risk, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.06).

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that the likelihood of receiving neuraxial analgesia is only marginally increased for morbidly obese women compared to women with normal body mass index.

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