To evaluate the obstetric outcomes associated with persistent occiput posterior position of the fetal head in term laboring patients.
We performed a cohort study of 6434 consecutive, term, vertex, laboring nulliparous and multiparous patients, comparing those who delivered infants in the occiput posterior position with those who delivered in the occiput anterior position. We examined maternal demographics, labor and delivery characteristics, and maternal and neonatal outcomes.
The prevalence of persistent occiput posterior position at delivery was 5.5% overall, 7.2% in nulliparas, and 4.0% in multiparas (P <.001). Persistent occiput posterior position was associated with shorter maternal stature and prior cesarean delivery. During labor and delivery, the occiput posterior position was associated with prolonged first and second stages of labor, oxytocin augmentation, use of epidural analgesia, chorioamnionitis, assisted vaginal delivery, third and fourth degree perineal lacerations, cesarean delivery, excessive blood loss, and postpartum infection. Newborns had lower 1-minute Apgar scores, but showed no differences in 5-minute Apgar scores, gestational age, or birth weight.
Persistent occiput posterior position is associated with a higher rate of complications during labor and delivery. In our population, the chances that a laboring woman with persistent occiput posterior position will have a spontaneous vaginal delivery are only 26% for nulliparas and 57% for multiparas.