The impact of occiput posterior fetal head position on the risk of anal sphincter injury in forceps-assisted vaginal deliveries.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: A forceps-assisted vaginal delivery is a well-recognized risk factor for anal sphincter injury. Some studies have shown that occiput posterior (OP) fetal head position is also associated with an increased risk for third- or fourth-degree lacerations. The objective of this study was to assess whether OP position confers an incrementally increased risk for anal sphincter injury above that present with forceps deliveries. STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study of 588 singleton, cephalic, forceps-assisted vaginal deliveries performed at our institution between January 1996 and October 2003. Maternal demographics, labor and delivery characteristics, and neonatal factors were examined. Statistical analysis consisted of univariate statistics, Student t test, chi2, and logistic regression. RESULTS: The prevalence of occiput anterior (OA) and OP positions was 88.4% and 11.6%, respectively. The groups were similar in age, marital status, body mass index, use of epidural, frequency of inductions, episiotomies, and shoulder dystocias. The OA group had a higher frequency of rotational forceps (16.2% vs 5.9%, P = .03), greater birth weights (3304 +/- 526 g vs 3092 +/- 777 g, P = .004), and a larger percentage of white women (48.8% vs 34.3%, P = .04). Overall, 35% of forceps deliveries resulted in a third- or fourth-degree laceration. Anal sphincter injury occurred significantly more often in the OP group compared with the OA group (51.5% vs 32.9%, P = .003), giving an odds ratio of 2.2 (CI: 1.3-3.6). In a logistic regression model that controlled for occiput posterior position, maternal body mass index, race, length of second stage, episiotomy, birth weight, and rotational forceps, OP head position was 3.1 (CI: 1.6-6.2) times more likely to be associated with anal sphincter injury than OA head position. CONCLUSION: Forceps-assisted vaginal deliveries have been associated with a greater risk for anal sphincter injury. Within this population of forceps deliveries, an OP position further increases the risk of third- or fourth-degree lacerations when compared with an OA position.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Benavides, L; Wu, JM; Hundley, AF; Ivester, TS; Visco, AG

Published Date

  • May 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 192 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1702 - 1706

PubMed ID

  • 15902181

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9378

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.11.047


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States