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Anatomy of pelvis in relation to

obstetrics and of the fetal skull

Dr Mu Mu Win
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Medicine

The bony pelvis

Bones forming the pelvis:
1.hip bones, left and right

Aspects of pelvic architecture

In a normal pelvis:

Anterior superior iliac spines and the

pubic symphysis are in the same
coronal plane

The bony pelvis

Anatomical position of the pelvis
Longitudinal axix of the
symphysis is parallel to

Tip of the coccyx and the

upper margin of the pubic
symphysis lie in the horizontal

The pelvic inclination

Angle that any pelvic plane

makes with the horizontal line

Plane of the pelvic inlet(brim)

Forms an angle of about 60

degrees with the horizontal
In negros , this angle may
approach 90 degrees and the
fetal head may be slow to
engage during labour


Is directed downward and

forward from the sacral
promontry to the pubic
of outle

Horizontal plane

Vertical plane

The pelvic inclination


inclined about 25 degrees

to the horizontal line


of outle

Horizontal plane

Vertical plane

Plane of the plevic outlet

The pelvic axis

Axis of the pelvic cavity(Axis of the
birth canal)
The axis of the birth canal is the
path followed by the fetal head in
its course through the pelvic
It extends downward and
backward in the axis of the inlet
(ie. at a right angle to the plane
of the inlet ) as far as the ischial
The axis turns downward and
forward ,at a right angle and
parallel to the plane of the inlet

The bony pelvis

Joints of the pelvis:

I .Lumbo-sacral joints
ii. Sacro-iliac joints
iiii.Sacro-coccygeal joints
Iv.Pubic symphysis

The bony pelvis

Divisions of the pelvis:
1. Pelvis major (False pelvis ,
Greater pelvis)
i. Ala of the sacrum
ii. Iliac fossa
2. Pelvis minor (True pelvis ,
Lesser pelvis )
i. an upper pelvic apature
(pelvic inlet)
ii. a cavity ( pelvic cavity)
iii.a lower pelvic aparture
( pelvic outlet)

Planes and diameters of the pelvis

True pelvis has three planes

of obstetrics significance

of outle

Horizontal plane

Vertical plane

The pelvic cavity extends from

the inlet to the outlet


The inlet
Planes of least dimensions
or the mid plane
The outlet


Planes and diameters of the pelvis

Pelvic inlet
Pelvic brim is the boundary line
between the pelvic major and the
pelvic minor (ie. The boundary line
between the abdominal and pelvic
The pelvic cavity is composed of:
a. promontry of sacrum
b. anterior border of ala of sacrum
c. arcuate line of ilium
d. pectinial line of pubis
e. pubic crest
f. upper end of pubic symphysis

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

Diameter of the pelvic inlet
6 diameters of the inlet are
customarily described
a. Anatomical conjugate (true

Antero-posterior diameter
extending from middle of
sacrum promontry to middle of
the upper margin of the
symphysis pubis
Normally 11 cm, of no obstetric

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

b. Obstetric Conjugate
Obstetrically important antero
posterior diameter
Shortest distance from the sacral
promontry and the symphysis
Generally drawn from the middle
of the sacral promontry to the
closest point on the convest
posterior surface of the
symphysis pubis
Approx; 11 cm
Represent the actual space
available to the fetus in
negiotiating the pelvic inlet
If OC less than 10 cm, it is
considered contracted pelvis

Planes and Diameter of the Pelvis

C. Diagonal Conjugate

Extend from the midpoint of

sacral promontory to the
midpoint of the inferior margin
of the symphysis pubis

Approx 12.5 cm

It is the only diameter of the

inlet that can be measured

By subtracting 1.5 cm from

the DC, approx length of the
OC can be obtained

Diagonal conjugate

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

d. Transverse diameter

Widest distance between the

iliopectineal line which is
perpendicular to the AP diameter
Approx; 13.5 cm


e. Oblique diameter
Oblique diameter

Extend from one sacroiliac joint

to opposite iliopectineal
Designated right or left according
to the sacroiliac joint from which
it originates
Approx; 12.75 cm


Planes and diameter of the pelvis

Midplane (plane of the least

A. anterior middle of the

symphysis pubis

B. lateral- pubic bone,

obturator fascia, inner aspect
of the ischial bones and

C. posterior- junction of the

2nd and 3rd sections of the

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

A.Transverse diameter
B. anterioposterior diameter

Distances similar at 12 cm
Ischial spines are palpable

Assessing descent of the fetal head by

vaginal examination

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

Pelvic outlet
Boundaries of the pelvic outlet:
Lower margin of the symphysis
on each side by the descending
ramus of the pubic bone, the
ischial tuberosity and the
sacrotuberous ligament,
Last piece of the sacrum

Planes and diameter of the pelvis

Pelvic oulet
Anterioposterior diameter of
the outlet_ measures from
inferior margin of the
symphysis pubis to last piece
of the sacrum.
Approxi; 13.5 cm
Because the coccyx is usually
pushed out of the way by the
advancing presenting part ,its
not included in measurements
of the outlet for obstetrics
Bituberous diameter distance
between inner aspects of the
ischial tuberosities
Transverse diameter is 11 cm

Classification of the pelvic type

Based on the shape of the
pelvic inlet

A. Anthropoid

B. Platypelloid

C. Android

D. Gynaecoid

Classification of pelvic type

A. Gynaecoid(50%)

Normal female pelvis and ideal for

Has a round or transverse oval
Transverse diameter is greater
than anterioposterior diameter
13.5 cm > 11 cm
Forepelvis is wide and round
Side walls are straight

Sacraum usually well curve

Wide sacrosciatic notch
Ischial spines are everted (blunt)
Pubic arch is wide
Engagement occurs in the transverse or oblique anterior position followed by
descend, anterior rotation and spontaneous vaginal delivery

B. Android (20%)

Typical male type pelvis

Bone structure is heavy in comparison with other 3 pelvic types
Inlet is heart shaped or wedge- shape with a narrow and angulated
Prominent sacral promontry
Sacrum bone is long, flat and inclined forward

Side walls are convergent producing a funnel pelvis

Sacrosciatic notch is narrow
Ischial spines are inverted and prominent
Pubic arch is narrow
Engagement usually occurs in transverse or posterior postion
Frequent outcome is deep transverse arrest or arrest as an occipitoposterior
with failure of rotation

Deep transverse arrest

Differences between Gynaecoid and Android Type

C. Anthropoid (25%)

Inlet is oval, with the AP diameter is much longer than transverse diameter
All the AP diameters are longer and all transverse diameters are shorter than in
comparison with the average gynaecoid pelvis
Forepelvis is oval and more narrow than in gynaecoid pelvis
Side walls are generally straight
Ischial spines are usually not encroaching
Pubic arch is normal or relatively narrow but well shaped

sacrum has an average curvature with a wide sacrosciatic notch ,thus creating an
increased space in the post pelvis
Engagement usually occurs in the anterioposterior or oblique diameter and
occipitoposterior are common
Fetuses in OP usually descend and deliver without rotating
Progress is good for spontaneous vaginal delivery with increased frequency of OP

D. Platypelloid type (<3%)

Flat pelvis _ rare

Inlet is transverse oval (transverse diameter is longer than AP diameter)
Characteristics of this pelvis are those of a gynaecoid pelvis that has been
compressed in the anteriorposterior direction
All the transverse diameters are long and all AP diameters are short

If engagement occour ,it is transverse position , often with marked acyclinism

Frequently there is associated with an increased risk of obstructed labour (eg;
Brown presentation)

Clinical pelvimetry
Measurement of the dimensions and
capacity of the pelvis
more accurate accomplished by
radiographic pelvimetry, however
risks of radiation to fetus

Clinical pelvimetry entails using

hands to measure :
certain pelvic diameter
Pelvic architecture
Predict the adequacy of the
pelvis for a particular fetus


Fetal skull bone

Fetal relationship

Engagement the fetal is engaged if the widest leading part

(typically the widest circumference of the head) is negotiating the

Station Relationship of the leading bony part of the fetus to the

maternal ischial spines. If at the level of spines, it is at zero 0
station, if it passed it by 2 cm, it is at +2 station.

Attitude Relationship of the fetal head to spine,flexed, neutral

(military) or extended attitudes are possible.

Position Relationship of the presenting part to maternal pelvis, ie.

ROP=Rt occiput posterior, LOA=Lt occiput anterior

Fetal relationship
Presentation Relationship between the leading fetal
part and the pelvic inlet; cephalic, breech or shoulder
Lie Relationship between the longitudinal axis of fetus
and mother; longitudinal , oblique and transverse
Caput or Caput succedaneum: edema typically formed
by the tissue overlying the fetal skull during the vaginal
delivery process.

Different positions of the fetal head