Anaesthesia in Maternal Obesity

  • Ulla Bang
  • H. Soren Helbo-Hansen


Obesity is a significant risk factor for maternal morbidity, mortality and anaesthesia-related complications. The anaesthetic management of the morbidly obese pregnant patient is associated with technical and time-consuming challenges which may hinder emergency caesarean delivery within the usually expected time limits. The obese parturient has a greater risk for difficult or failed intubation and a higher failure rate of regional anaesthesia. Spinal or combined spinal epidural anaesthesia is the preferred option but may be difficult to establish. Early placement of an epidural catheter is recommended in labouring morbidly obese women to avoid general anaesthesia in case of emergency caesarean section. Post-operative care and pain therapy are essential to prevent cardiovascular and pulmonary complications. Morbidly obese pregnant women should be offered an antenatal consultation with an obstetric anaesthetist. It may be relevant to refer these women to specialised centres with the appropriate equipment, skill and experience of the anaesthesiologists and obstetricians.


Epidural Catheter Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Difficult Intubation Lean Body Weight Neuraxial Anaesthesia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care MedicineAarhus University HospitalAarhus NDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care MedicineOdense University HospitalOdense CDenmark

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