• 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.
    • Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy and Causation

      Turner, M J; Farren, M (Irish Medical Journal, 2016-07)
      A vaginal childbirth is the result of the internal (endogenous) expulsive forces of uterine contractions, usually supplemented by active maternal pushing1. Depending on the clinical circumstances, additional external (exogenous) traction forces may be required from the birth attendant. This blend of internal and external forces varies from birth to birth. Women who have had a previous vaginal delivery, for example, may deliver successfully with uterine contractions alone and the role of the birth attendant may be simply to control and slow the delivery so that trauma to the maternal perineum from stretching by the fetal head is minimised. In contrast, additional traction may be required by an obstetrician at the time of an operative vaginal delivery for fetal distress or dystocia. The strength of the traction required may be increased by clinical factors, for example, fetal macrosomia or malposition. The traction should be axial in the direction of the birth canal, which is a vector combining horizontal and vertical traction at 25-45 degrees below the horizontal when the woman is in the lithotomy position.