Obesity can cause pregnancy complications, including complications that affect labor and delivery. Researchers from the University of Tennessee Medical Center published a study in the journal of the Tennessee Medical Association describing the impact of obesity on C-section rates.

Researchers reviewed medical records for 2,235 women. Women were placed in one of five BMI categories – underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese and morbidly obese. Study authors excluded medical records and subsequently participants if required medical data (delivery mode, weight, height) was missing from the medical file.

Conclusion: The smallest percentage of C-sections occurred in underweight women (26%). As BMI increased, the rate of C-sections also increased; normal weight (31.4%), overweight (39.1%), obese (40.8%) and morbidly obese (56.6%). Pregnancy complications like diabetes and hypertension affected obese women more often than women in the normal weight group.

Source: Berendzen JA, Howard BC. Association between cesarean delivery rate and body mass index. Tenn Med. 2013 Jan;106(1):35-7, 42.