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Pelvimetry is the assessment of the female pelvis in relation to the birth of a baby. Traditional obstetrical services relied heavily on pelvimetry in the conduct of delivery in order to decide if natural or operative vaginal delivery was possible or if and when to use a cesarean section. With the increased safety of modern cesarean section and increased medico legal concerns about use of operative vaginal delivery, the threshold to perform a cesarean section has decreased and the need for pelvimetry diminished.
Additional recommended knowledge
Pelvimetry used to be performed routinely to discern if spontaneous labour was medically advisable. Women whose pelvises were deemed too small received caesarean sections instead of birthing naturally. Research indicates that pelvimetry is not a useful diagnostic tool for CPD (see below) and that in all cases spontaneous labour and birthing should be facilitated. See Blackadar & Viera, 2003, p505
A woman's pelvis loosens up before birth (with the help of hormones), and an upright and/or squatting woman can birth a considerably larger baby. A woman in the lithotomy (lying on her back, head of bed elevated) is more than likely not going to push a larger than average baby out, due to the size of outlet that this position creates. Since obstetricians continue to place women in this position for their requirement of 'access', not considering the birthing mother's needs to be in a better position to open her pelvis, it is more likely that women will be given the diagnosis that their pelvis is too small to birth their baby.
Cephalo-pelvic disproportion: CPD
Cephalo-pelvic disproportion exists when the capacity of the pelvis is inadequate to allow the fetus to negotiate the birth canal. This may be due to a small pelvis, a nongynecoid (see below) pelvic formation, or a large fetus, and combinations of these. Certain medical conditions may distort pelvic bones, such as rickets or a pelvic fracture, and lead to CPD.
The terms used in pelvimetry are commonly used in obstetrics. Clinical pelvimetry attempts to assess the pelvis by clinical examination. Pelvimetry can also be done by radiography and MRI.
Traditional obstetrics characterizes four types of pelvises:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pelvimetry". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.