Magnetic resonance imaging pelvimetry and the prediction of labor dystocia

Michael V. Zaretsky, James M. Alexander, Donald D. McIntire, Mustapha R. Hatab, Diane M. Twickler, Kenneth J. Leveno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


To study whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pelvimetry has the ability to identify those women who require cesarean delivery for labor dystocia. From July 2003 to April 2004, nulliparous women scheduled for a labor induction for prolonged pregnancy (42 weeks) were asked to participate in a pelvimetry study. Those who consented underwent fast-acquisition MRI that included two 90-second acquisitions to evaluate fetal biometry and volumetry and maternal pelvimetry, including novel measurements of pelvic bony and soft tissue volumes as determined by MRI. Information about each patient’s pregnancy, labor course, and neonatal outcome was prospectively collected. Pelvimetry results for those women undergoing operative delivery for labor dystocia were compared with those who did not. Single fetal and maternal pelvic measurements, as well as ratios of both, were analyzed. In addition, previously described radiographic pelvimetry techniques and formulas to predict dystocia were used. One hundred one women underwent MRI, and 22 of these underwent cesarean delivery for dystocia. No single fetal measurement was statistically associated with dystocia. Several maternal pelvic measures, fetal-to-maternal ratios, and previously reported pelvimetric techniques were significantly associated with dystocia. The ratio of magnetic resonance (MR) fetal head volume to pelvic soft tissue volume had statistical significance (P = .04). Receiver operator characteristic curves were developed for the different measurements, ratios, and formulas studied to assess whether any of the techniques could accurately predict labor dystocia requiring operative delivery. The area under the curve values ranged from 0.6 to 0.8, with the ratio of MR head volume to pelvic soft tissue being 0.7. These values suggest that MRI can identify those women at greatest risk for dystocia, but it cannot with accuracy predict which ones will require a cesarean. We found significant associations with MRI pelvimetry and labor dystocia, but MRI was not a significant improvement over previously described pelvimetric techniques. II-3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-926
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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