What Is a Breech Birth?


A breech birth is when your baby is in a buttocks position or feet-first position while giving birth. There are three different types of breech positions:

  • Frank position – When your baby’s feet are straight up by his head.
  • Incomplete position– If your baby’s feet or foot are dangling down into the birth canal.
  • Complete position– This is when baby’s hips and knees are flexed so that the baby is sitting crosslegged, with his/her feet beside the buttocks.

Breech birth occurs in about 3- 4% of all births and most women choose to have a cesarean section, this includes about 95% of women. There are a few different ways the doctor can deliver the baby. Some doctors attempt a version, this is when the doctor uses an ultrasound for guidance and they press down on the mothers stomach to guide the baby into a somersault. They have to use the ultrasound to make sure the baby is not injured in this procedure and to make sure the umbilical cord is not wrapped around the baby’s neck. Some babies do turn back into the breech position after a version is attempted but this mostly happens when the baby is turned too soon before delivery. 50% of versions are successful when a breeched birth occurs but 95% of mothers request a cesarean section.

Breeched births may danger a baby during delivery. In some cases a cord prolapse occurs, this is when the body and umbilical cord are delivered first and the blood supply and oxygen supply are cut off. This usually happens when the buttocks or feet put pressure on the cord which is the main source of blood and oxygen supply. An entrapment may also occur and this is when the body is delivered but the head gets trapped at the neck. If the doctors do not act quickly in these situations injury to the baby or even fatality will occur.

If your baby is in a breech position, most occasions the baby is delivered safely and effectively so there is no need to worry. Worrying will only cause more problems for you and baby and you don’t need anymore stress on your body. Doctors are prepared for anything and have a lot of experience when this happens. Some doctors even use a suction device to aid the delivery of your baby in these breech births. If you have not had a breech birth before you are unlikely to have another one but if you do have a breech birth, it is likely to have another one in the future.


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