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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2001 Aug;80(8):731-7.

Mode of delivery in breech presentation at term: increased neonatal morbidity with vaginal delivery.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Lund, S-223 85 Lund, Sweden.



To compare the neonatal outcome in planned vaginal delivery and planned cesarean section in term singleton pregnancies with breech presentation in a Scandinavian clinic with a high rate of vaginal breech delivery.


A retrospective study including 1050 term singleton breech pregnancies delivered at a Swedish tertiary referral center during 1988 to 2000. For 699 patients (67%) a vaginal delivery was planned, of whom 603 (86%) were delivered vaginally. In 327 (31%) cases a cesarean section was planned and performed. These two groups were compared regarding rates of acidemia at birth (cord artery pH <7.05), low Apgar scores and neonatal neurological morbidity. Long term sequels among infants with a complicated neonatal course were also identified.


Acidemia at birth, Apgar score below 7 at 5 minutes, and referral to neonatal intensive care unit all occurred at higher rates in planned vaginal delivery (5.3%, 3.6%, and 8.9%, respectively), than in planned cesarean delivery (0, 0, and 4.0%). The rate of neonatal neurological morbidity was 24/699 (3.4%) in planned vaginal delivery (18 cases with cerebral symptoms and six cases of brachial plexus palsy) compared to one case (cerebral symptoms) after a planned cesarean. These differences were all statistically significant (p< or =0.002). Of the neurologically affected neonates, two died and four had cerebral palsy (one delivered by planned cesarean section) at follow up.


Neonatal morbidity may be reduced with planned cesarean delivery in breech presentation, also in a Scandinavian setting.

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