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.
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.
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, legs 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.
Cephalo-pelvic disproportion exists when the capacity of the pelvis is inadequate to allow the fetus to negotiate the birth canal.
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.
Diameters of inferior aperture of lesser pelvis (female).
Pelvic inlet: The line between the narrowest bony points formed by the sacral promontory and the inner pubic arch is termed obstetrical conjugate: It should be 11.5 cm or more. This anteroposterior line at the inlet is 2 cm less than the diagonal conjugate (distance from undersurface of pubic arch to sacral promontory). The transverse diameter of the pelvic inlet measures 13.5 cm.
Midpelvis: The line between the narrowest bone points connects the ischial spines; it typically exceeds 12 cm.