Objective Fetal size impacts on perinatal outcomes. We queried whether the fetal head, as the fetal part interfacing with the birth canal, might impact on obstetric outcomes more than birthweight (BW). We examined associations between neonatal head circumference (HC) and delivery mode and risk of perinatal complications as compared to high BW. Study Design This was an electronic medical records-based study of term singleton births (37-42 weeks' gestation) from January 2010 through December 2012 (N = 24,780, 6343 primiparae). We assessed risks of unplanned cesarean or instrumental delivery and maternal and fetal complications in cases with HC or BW ≥95th centile (large HC, high BW) vs those with parameters <95th centile (normal). Newborns were stratified into 4 subgroups: normal HC/normal BW (reference, n = 22,548, primiparae 5862); normal HC/high BW (n = 817, P = 213); large HC/normal BW (n = 878, P = 265); and large HC/high BW (n = 537, P = 103). Multinomial multivariable regression provided adjusted odds ratio (aOR) while controlling for potential confounders. Results Infants with HC ≥95th centile (n = 1415) were delivered vaginally in 62% of cases, unplanned cesarean delivery 16%, and instrumental delivery 11.2%; 78.4% of infants with HC <95th centile were delivered vaginally, 7.8% unplanned cesarean, and 6.7% instrumental delivery. Odds ratio (OR) for unplanned cesarean was 2.58 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.22-3.01) and for instrumental delivery OR was 2.13 (95% CI, 1.78-2.54). In contrast, in those with BW ≥95th centile (n = 1354) 80.3% delivered vaginally, 10.2% by unplanned cesarean (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.01-1.44), and 3.4% instrumental delivery (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.34-0.62) compared to infants with BW <95th centile: spontaneous vaginal delivery, 77.3%, unplanned cesarean 8.2%, instrumental 7.1%. Multinomial regression with normal HC/normal BW as reference group showed large HC/normal BW infants were more likely to be delivered by unplanned cesarean (aOR, 3.08; 95% CI, 2.52-3.75) and instrumental delivery (aOR, 3.03; 95% CI, 2.46-3.75). Associations were strengthened in primiparae. Normal HC/high BW was not associated with unplanned cesarean (aOR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.91-1.54), while large HC/high BW was (aOR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.47-2.52). Analysis of unplanned cesarean indications showed large HC infants had more failure to progress (27.7% vs 14.1%, P <.001), while smaller HC infants had more fetal distress (23.4% vs 16.9%, P <.05). Conclusion A large HC is more strongly associated with unplanned cesarean and instrumental delivery than high BW. Prospective studies are needed to test fetal HC as a predictive parameter for prelabor counseling of women with big babies.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.
- head circumference
- instrumental delivery
- unplanned cesarean delivery