Researchers examined a total of 29,224 women with single-birth pregnancies between 2004 and 2008.
Pregnancy extending beyond 10 days of the due date is associated increased perinatal morbidity and mortality, as well as maternal complications such as pre-eclampsia and caesarean delivery.
The researchers found that obese women who need to have labour induced experienced much higher rates of progression to caesarean than women of a normal weight who also had labour induced.
Despite the need to induce labour, vaginal delivery was achieved in more than 60% of obese primiparous and 90% of multiparous women with prolonged pregnancies. Labour complications in the obese women with prolonged pregnancies were largely comparable to those of normal weight women with prolonged pregnancies.
Dr Sarah Arrowsmith, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine, and lead author on the paper commented: 'The importance of this research is that it investigates delivery outcomes for women who are obese with prolonged gestation and receiving labour induction.
'The fact that the majority of obese women did have a vaginal delivery, with labour complications being largely comparable to normal weight women, suggests that induction of labour in obese women with prolonged pregnancy is a safe method for managing these difficult pregnancies.'