Breech Birth is when a baby presentation in the birth canal with the feet or buttocks pointing first.
A typical finding for a “normal birth” is when the baby is in a head first presentation.
Overall occurs generally between 5-10% of births when at term. There are different types of breech births as discussed below. There can be several complications associated with breech birth.
Also, a C-section may be the treatment or alternate if breech birth is not resolved.
Causes and/or Risks of a Breech Birth are the following:
– Premature birth (25%)
– Increasing size of fetus
– Change in volume of amniotic fluid
– Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more)
– Uterine Abnormalities
– Caesarean Section on a previous birth
– Fetal Abnormalities
Types of Breech
1.) Frank Breech
– Bottom comes first
– Legs may be flexed at hip
– Knees extended
– Generally the most common form – over 60% of the time
2.) Footling Breech
– One or both feet come first
– Common with premature births
– Uncommon with term births
3.) Complete Breech
– Hips and Knees are flexed
– Sitting cross legged
– Feet at bottom
4.) Kneeling Breech
– Both legs on hips are extended
– Both knees are flexed
– May occur with only one flexed knee
– Occurrence is rare
Natural process with a Breech Baby
– Typically internal rotation occurs by the pelvic floor muscles.
– The baby will turn so that baby is facing one of the mother’s thighs.
– The shoulders soon follow the same pattern
– Next, the baby will rotate to face the mother’s back
– Baby’s Head should now help the head emerge.
– Bruising may be found on hips, legs, and genitalia [This will resolve within a few days]
Complications associated with Breech Birth:
1.) Umbilical cord problems such as compression
2.) Cesarean section may be required
3.) Loss of oxygen
4.) Head entrapment
5.) Neurological problems due to loss of oxygen
6.) Injury [Brain, arms, legs, hip, etc]
7.) Abdominal injury
Important factors about Breech Birth:
– Type of breech
– Fetal size
– Stage of Labor
– Second twin – if first twin has passed – improved chances for the second
– Skull size
Manual attempts in turning baby may be attempted during the first portions of labor
External cephalic version
– Good results
– Complications are rare
– Fetal heart is monitored
Importance of C-Section if resolution of breech birth is not immediately realized:
– When complications arise due to breech, C-Section is often a logical choice.
– Several risks are associated with a surgery
– Risks include – internal injury, hysterectomy required, infertility, injury to baby, bleeding, others