Open Access Research article

Maternal obesity and its relation with the cesarean section: A hospital based cross sectional study in Iraq

Waqar Al-Kubaisy13, Mazin Al-Rubaey2*, Redhwan A Al-Naggar13, Ban Karim2 and Nor Aini Mohd Noor14

Author Affiliations

1 Population Health and Preventive Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Selangor, Malaysia

2 Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, AL-Mustanseryah University, Baghdad, Iraq

3 Drug Discovery & Health Community of Research, Universiti teknologi MARA (UiTM), 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

4 Humanity and Quality of life, Universiti teknologi MARA (UiTM), 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:235  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-235

Published: 17 July 2014



Obesity during pregnancy is reported in approximately one in five pregnant women worldwide. It increases the risk of pregnancy complications many of which necessitate Cesarean section (CS). This study determines the association between obesity and type of delivery.


A cross-sectional study involving 404 pregnant women was carried out at Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq. Women with hypertension, diabetes, preterm labor, fetal presentation other than cephalic presentation and multiple gestations were excluded from the study. BMI and past obstetric history were recorded.


The overall rate of CS was 38%. The overall mean body mass index (BMI) was 25.0 ± 4.52 Kg/m2 and it was significantly higher among women who delivered by cesarean section. Significantly high rate of CS was found in primigravida and multigravida women with high BMI. Moreover, all obese multigravid women with history of previous CS were delivered by CS. The rate of CS was higher in women with primary level education when compared to women with secondary or tertiary education. CS was significantly lower in women with a previous history of abortion.


Obese women with or without a previous history of CS are at a higher risk of having a CS and should therefore be considered as high risk and managed appropriately during pregnancy. Weight management prior to or during pregnancy could help reduce the need for CS.

Obesity; Cesarean section; Route of delivery; Iraq