The increasing number of operative deliveries is a topic of major concern in modern obstetrics. Maternal thyroid function is of known influence on many obstetric parameters. Our objective was to investigate a possible relation between maternal thyroid function, and operative deliveries. Secondary aim was to explore whether thyroid function was related to specific reasons for operative deliveries.
In this prospective cohort study, low-risk Caucasian women, pregnant of a single cephalic fetus were included. Women with known auto-immune disease, a pre-labour Caesarean section, induction of labour, breech presentation or preterm delivery were excluded. In all trimesters of pregnancy the thyroid function was assessed. Differences in mean TSH and FT4 were assessed using t-test. Mean TSH and FT4 levels for operative deliveries were determined by one way ANOVA. Repeated measurement analyses were performed (ANOVA), adjusting for BMI, partiy, maternal age and gestational age at delivery.
In total 872 women were included, of which 699 (80.2 %) had a spontaneous delivery. At 36 weeks gestation women who had an operative delivery had a significantly higher mean TSH (1.63mIU/L versus 1.46mIU/L, p = 0.025) and lower mean FT4 (12.9pmol/L versus 13.3pmol/L, p = 0.007)) compared to women who had a spontaneous delivery. Mean TSH was significantly higher (p = 0.026) and mean FT4 significantly lower (p = 0.030) throughout pregnancy for women with an operative delivery due to failure to progress in second stage of labour, compared to women with a spontaneous delivery or operative delivery for other reasons.
Increased TSH and decreased FT4 seem to be associated with more operative vaginal deliveries and Caesarean sections. After adjusting for several confounders the association remained for operative deliveries due to failure to progress in second stage of labour, possibly to be explained by less efficient uterine action.