What is it about?

I was interested to read the recent study by Cheng et al.1 suggesting that induction of labour might reduce the caesarean section rate associated with macrosomia. The study question is built on two false premises: namely that one can accurately diagnose macrosomia prenatally, and secondly that one can study any one variable, such as induction, in relation to caesarean rates using birth certificate data. Both manual and ultrasound fetal weight estimation at term have poor sensitivity and specificity.2 Seventeen documented variables simultaneously affect caesarean rates, making it impossible to use birth certificate data to control for all of them.3 In the absence of improved outcomes resulting from induction for macrosomia,4 one must question the continued use of this protocol, in light of the fact that induction is an independent risk factor for postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).5 The majority of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy (OBPP) cases are not associated with macrosomia.6 Of the 4 130 665 US women giving birth in the study year, 743 520 were primiparae delivering a single fetus at term, with about 30% of them delivering by caesarean section, leaving about 500 000 who delivered vaginally.This study looked at 132 112 (26%) babies who were both macrosomic and delivered vaginally to primiparae. Nutritional counselling should be at least suggested as something to consider when macrosomia affects one in every four births. 1 Cheng YW, Sparks TN, Laros RK Jr, Nicholson JM, Caughey AB. Impending macrosomia: will induction of labour modify the risk of caesarean delivery. BJOG 2012;119:402–9. 2 Hargreaves K, Cameron M, Edwards H, Gray R, Deane K. Is the use of symphysis-fundal height measurement and ultrasound examination effective in detecting small or large fetuses? J Obstet Gynaecol 2011; 31:380–3. 3 Cohain JS. Is Action Bias one of the numerous causes of UnneCesareans. MIDIRS MIdwifery Digest 2009;19:495–9. 4 Irion O, Boulvain M. Induction of labour for suspected fetal macrosomia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000;2:CD000938. 5 Belghiti J, Kayem G, Dupont C, Rudigoz RC, Bouvier-Colle MH, Deneux-Tharaux C. Oxytocin during labour and risk of severe postpartum haemorrhage: a population-based, cohort-nested case-control study. BMJ Open 2011;21:1:e000514. 6 Doumouchtsis SK, Arulkumaran S. ‘‘Is it possible to reduce obstetrical brachial plexus palsy by optimal management of shoulder dystocia?’’ Ann N Y Acad Sci 2010; 1205:135–43. JS Cohain CNM, Alon Shvut, Israel Accepted 16 February 2012

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Why is it important?

Prevent inductions which lead to increased long term morbidity and mortality

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This page is a summary of: Suspected macrosomia: will induction of labour modify the risk of caesarean delivery?, BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, June 2012, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03326.x.
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