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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 Sep;94(9):997-1004. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12684. Epub 2015 Jun 24.

Neonatal outcome of singleton term breech deliveries in Norway from 1991 to 2011.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sorlandet Hospital HF, Kristiansand, Norway.
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Medical Birth Registry of Norway, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Bergen, Norway.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Community Medicine, Research Group Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases, UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.



The objective of this study was to examine the association between planned mode of delivery and neonatal outcomes in breech deliveries.


In this retrospective cohort study we studied singleton term breech deliveries in Norway from 1991 to 2011 (n = 30 861) using the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. We compared planned vaginal delivery with planned cesarean delivery across two time periods: from 1 January 1991 to 31 October 2000 (first period) and from 1 November 2000 to 31 December 2011 (second period). Intrapartum and neonatal deaths were validated against source data in medical records, autopsy reports, and other relevant documents. The main outcome measures were intrapartum and neonatal mortality within the first 28 days of life, 5-min Apgar-scores <7 and <4, neonatal intensive care unit stays ≥4 days, respiratory morbidity, and intracranial bleeding disorders.


Rate of planned cesarean delivery increased from 34.4 to 51.3% over the period. Simultaneously, early neonatal mortality rate (0-6 days) declined (from 0.10% to 0.04%, p = 0.04). During the second period, 30.7% of term breech presentations were delivered vaginally. Eight deaths in the planned vaginal vs. four in the planned cesarean groups were observed (OR 2.11 95% CI 0.64-7.01). Neonatal morbidity outcomes were significantly worse in planned vaginal deliveries compared with planned cesarean deliveries in both periods.


Overall intrapartum and neonatal mortality decreased during the entire period. Higher mortality in planned vaginal delivery relative to planned cesarean delivery in the second period was not statistically significant. However, neonatal morbidity was significantly higher in planned vaginal than planned cesarean deliveries in both periods. This warrants continuous surveillance of breech deliveries.


Breech presentation; birth registry; mode of delivery; neonatal morbidity; neonatal mortality; vaginal breech delivery

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