Clinical pelvimetry is very uncomfortable for the patient and is associated with subjective error, while external pelvimetry is a simple and acceptable method for patients. The objective of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of clinical and external pelvimetry in prediction of dystocia in nulliparous women.
In this study between December 2008 and January 2009, 447 nulliparous women with a single pregnancy in vertex presentation and gestational age 38-42 weeks referring to the Ommolbanin hospital of Mashhad were included. External pelvic dimensions were assessed at the time of admission and clinical pelvimetry was performed by another examiner. These measurements were not available to the clinician in charge of the delivery. Dystocia was defined as caesarean section and vacuum or forceps delivery for abnormal progress of labor (active uterine contractions, arrest of cervical dilatation or cervical dilatation less than 1 cm /h in the active phase for 2 hours, prolongation of second stage beyond 2 hours or fetal head descent less than 1cm/h). Statistical tests included Fisher exact test and Chi- square test.
The highest sensitivity obtained from clinical pelvimetry was 33.3% and related to diagonal conjugate less than 11.5 cm. The sensitivity of external pelvic dimensions was higher than clinical pelvimetry that was highest for the Michaelis transverse diameter(60.72%).
External pelvimetry in comparison to clinical pelvimetry is a better method for identifying dystocia in nulliparous women and can replace clinical pelvimetry in antenatal care programs.
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