Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Maternal height, shoe size, and outcome of labour in white primigravidas: a prospective anthropometric study.

British Medical Journal 1988; 297 doi: (Published 20 August 1988) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1988;297:515
  1. T. A. Mahmood,
  2. D. M. Campbell,
  3. A. W. Wilson
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.


    A total of 563 white primigravid patients at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, were recruited in a prospective study to examine the association between maternal height, shoe size, and the outcome of labour. There was a significantly increased caesarean section rate in women of short stature but no association between mode of delivery and shoe size. Babies born vaginally had heavier birth weights with increasing height and shoe size. Babies born by caesarean section were heavier than those born vaginally, but their birthweight showed no relation with either height or shoe size. Shoe size is not a useful clinical predictor for the probability of cephalopelvic disproportion, and, although maternal height is a better clinical guide to pelvic adequacy in labour, 80% of mothers less than 160 cm tall delivered vaginally. A well conducted trial of labour should be considered in all primigravid patients with cephalic presentation irrespective of maternal height or shoe size if no obstetric complication exists.