Obstetric History

Definition - What does Obstetric History mean?

An obstetric history is a component of history-taking that involves a doctor asking questions to gather information about any previous pregnancies and their outcomes when evaluating the underlying cause of infertility.

With an obstetric history, questions include the number of pregnancies she has gone through, details of each of those pregnancies and outcomes, any abnormalities of pregnancy such miscarriages and the use of fertility enhancement treatment to conceive.

Information gathered from the obstetric history can help the clinician to decide on the next steps in the management of infertility in a woman as well as the management and possible outcomes of future pregnancies.

FertilitySmarts explains Obstetric History

History taking is the first and the most important step in the evaluation of an infertile couple and is followed by physical examination and investigations. A detailed obstetric history can detect if there is an underlying cause of infertility that can be related to previous pregnancies. It also helps the woman and the medical team to prepare for any likely adverse outcomes during future pregnancies and childbirth.

A detailed obstetric history typically includes:

  • Number of times the woman has been pregnant (gravidity)
  • Number of times the woman has given birth to a child
  • Period of infertility before pregnancy
  • Fertility treatment or assisted reproductive technology for conception
  • Details of each normal pregnancy
    • Length of pregnancy
    • Date of delivery
    • Method of delivery (eg: normal vaginal, assisted vaginal, cesarean)
    • Details of babies (eg: gender, weight)
    • Complications before childbirth (eg: pregnancy-induced hypertension)
    • Complications during childbirth (eg: vaginal/cervical tears, obstructed labor)
    • Complications after childbirth (eg: bleeding, infection, psychological problems like depression)
  • Details of abnormal pregnancies (eg: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination of pregnancy)
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