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.