Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Pregnancy Serious Breech Delivery

Normally, around the eighth month, a baby is positioned in the uterus in the head-down position. This position, called vertex, allows a baby to be delivered head-first. More than 96 out of 100 babies are born vertex. Some babies are positioned in the uterus feet-first or buttocks-first: these positions are called breech.

There are three main types of breech position:

  • Frank breech:
    • The infant's hips are flexed and the knees are extended, with the feet near the shoulders. The infant's buttocks are delivered through the birth canal first.
  • Incomplete breech:
    • One, or both, of the infant's hips are flexed. One, or both, of the infant's legs are delivered through the birth canal first.
  • Complete Breech:
    • Both of the infant's knees are flexed rather than extended. The infant's buttocks are delivered through the birth canal first.

If your baby is breech, your doctor may be able to turn the baby by pressing on your abdomen. If this is not successful, there are some other things the doctor can try to turn the baby internally. The combination of preterm labor and a breech baby almost always warrants a c-section.

Continue to Pregnancy Serious Complications

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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