• Maternal Obesity and Neck Circumference

      Anglim, B; O’Higgins, A; Daly, N; Farren, M; Turner, MJ (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-06)
      Obese women are more likely to require general anaesthesia for an obstetric intervention than non-obese. Difficult tracheal intubation and oxygen desaturation is more common in pregnancy. Failed tracheal intubation has been associated with an increase in neck circumference (NC). We studied the relationship between maternal obesity and NC as pregnancy advanced in women attending a standard antenatal clinic. Of the 96 women recruited, 13.5% were obese. The mean NC was 36.8cm (SD 1.9) in the obese women compared with 31.5cm (SD 1.6) in women with a normal BMI (p<0.001) at 18-22 weeks gestation. In the obese women it increased on average by 1.5cm by 36-40 weeks compared with an increase of 1.6 cm in women with a normal BMI. The antenatal measurement of NC is a simple, inexpensive tool that is potentially useful for screening obese women who may benefit from an antenatal anaesthetic assessment.