Risks associated with breech-positioned babies

It is often considered an "old wives' tale" when someone believes that he or she can guess a baby's position just by looking at the pregnant mother. While expecting moms in the Houston area might not take seriously someone's attempt to guess their baby's position, the truth is that the baby's position is critically important during birth. Most babies are delivered head first, but a small percentage of deliveries, usually less than five percent, involve a breech birth. This type of delivery can pose a risk that may result in birth injuries.

Generally, when a baby's breech position is noted, a Cesarean section is anticipated. Prior to 1959, most breech deliveries were vaginal, but later prominent physicians' groups decided that breech deliveries should be performed via C-section, except in certain cases. However, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reassessed its stance in the 2000s. The group has since issued a statement that depending on the doctor's experience, some vaginal breech deliveries might not be unreasonable.

A breech delivery is defined as one in which the baby's feet or buttocks are closest to the mother's cervix, rather than the baby's head. During an assisted breech delivery, the birth proceeds spontaneously until the baby reaches the point of the umbilicus. At this point, various maneuvers are used to extract the baby. During this type of procedure, as well as during a total breech extraction, there is little room for error and only the most experienced OB/GYNs tend to perform them.

There are several different risk factors that may indicate a potential breech birth. The first is prematurity; a small percentage of at-term births are breech, but over 20 percent of births that take place before 28 weeks are breech deliveries. Additional risk factors include multiple gestations, abnormalities of the fetus, malformations of the uterus and placenta previa.

If one has a trusted and highly experienced physician, the birth experience is likely to go as planned. However, a breech-positioned baby or an inexperienced delivery team could result in damaging complications. While some birth injuries go away on their own, many others are long-lasting and lead to massive medical expenses. If a baby's birth injuries were initially caused by the actions of a negligent doctor during a breech delivery, the parents can contact a birth injury attorney to begin the process of compensation for injuries.

Categories: Birth Injuries