Perinatal Mortality and Morbidity in Breech Presentation

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The perinatal mortality associated with breech presentation at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, between 1974 and 1976 was 10.4%, or almost 5 times the overall hospital figure. Nine of 487 infants (1.8%) weighing ≥2500 g died in the perinatal period, but 7 were already dead at the onset of labor or had congenital abnormalities incompatible with life. Sixty of 177 infants (33.9%) weighing 1000-2499 g died in the perinatal period, but 28 of these died due to prematurity alone or from complications of intrauterinc hypoxia or birth trauma. Although elective cesarean section for breech presentation could not be justified for infants weighing ≥2500 g, this procedure may well reduce the perinatal loss of premature infants by reducing the incidence of intrauterine hypoxia and preventing birth trauma.

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