Back to Journals » Local and Regional Anesthesia » Volume 12

Obesity And Obstetric Anesthesia: Current Insights

Authors Taylor CR, Dominguez JE, Habib AS

Received 11 June 2019

Accepted for publication 18 October 2019

Published 18 November 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 111—124


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Stefan Wirz

Cameron R Taylor, Jennifer E Dominguez, Ashraf S Habib

Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Women’s Anesthesia, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA

Correspondence: Ashraf S Habib
Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Women’s Anesthesia, Duke University, 2301 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27710, USA
Tel +1 919 668 2024
Fax +1 919 681 4698

Abstract: Obesity is a significant global health problem. It results in a higher incidence of complications for pregnant women and their neonates. Cesarean deliveries are more common in obese parturients as well. The increased burden of comorbidities seen in this population, such as obstructive sleep apnea, necessitates antepartum anesthetic consultation. These patients pose unique challenges for the practicing anesthesiologist and may benefit from optimization prior to delivery. Complications from anesthesia and overall morbidity and mortality are higher in this population. Neuraxial anesthesia can be challenging to place in the obese parturient, but is the preferred anesthetic for cesarean delivery to avoid airway manipulation, minimize aspiration risk, prevent fetal exposure to volatile anesthetic, and decrease risk of post-partum hemorrhage from volatile anesthetic exposure. Monitoring and positioning of these patients for surgery may pose specific challenges. Functional labor epidural catheters can be topped up to provide conditions suitable for surgery. In the absence of a working epidural catheter, a combined spinal epidural anesthetic is often the technique of choice due to relative ease of placement versus a single shot spinal technique as well as the ability to extend the anesthetic through the epidural portion. For cesarean delivery with a vertical supraumbilical skin incision, a two-catheter technique may be beneficial. Concern for thromboembolism necessitates early mobilization and a multimodal analgesic regimen can help accomplish this. In addition, thromboprophylaxis is recommended in this population after delivery—especially cesarean delivery. These patients also need close monitoring in the post-partum period when they are at increased risk for several complications.

Keywords: obesity, neuraxial anesthesia, labor analgesia, cesarean delivery

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]