Does Maternal Body Mass Index or Weight Gain Affect External Cephalic Version Success? [19H]

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External cephalic version (ECV) has been demonstrated to reduce the number of cesarean deliveries for fetal malpresentation. Numerous factors have been identified that affect the success rate; however, the effect of maternal weight parameters (body mass index [BMI] and weight gain) remains unclear. The purpose of this retrospective study is to evaluate the impact of maternal weight parameters on ECV success.


This is a retrospective cohort study including all women who underwent an attempted ECV at our academic, tertiary care institution from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2014. Data were manually abstracted from the electronic medical record and included baseline maternal characteristics and ECV success. BMI was categorized as normal (less than 25), overweight (25–29), or obese (greater than 30).


During the study period, 135 women underwent a total of 137 procedures (2 women had ECV attempts in 2 different pregnancies). One patient was excluded from analysis as data for pre-pregnancy BMI was unavailable. ECV was successful in 71 cases (52%). Pre-pregnancy BMI and BMI at the time of ECV showed a non-significant trend toward higher success rates with lower BMI (P=.87, 0.32, respectively). Additionally, mean maternal weight gain was not significantly different among successful and unsuccessful ECV (P=.56).


Maternal BMI or weight gain do not appear to significantly impact ECV success. These results can be used when counseling women about the chance of successful ECV, and weight parameters should not be considered a contraindication to the procedure.

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