Breech pregnancy: Introduction
Breech pregnancy is a condition of pregnancy in which the fetus or baby is not in the head-down position in the uterus. Breech pregnancy is common and normal in early pregnancy as the baby grows and moves around in the uterus. However, by about 36 weeks of pregnancy, the baby should have moved into the head-down position, the normal position for vaginal delivery. If this has not happened, it is called a breech presentation.
In a breech pregnancy or breech presentation, the baby is positioned with the buttocks down and the head up. The mother may or may not be aware of any symptoms of a breech pregnancy or breech presentation. Complications of breech pregnancy that lead to breech presentation and a vaginal breech delivery can include difficult vaginal delivery, fetal distress, birth defects and compression of the umbilical cord. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of breech pregnancy.
One of the main causes of a breech pregnancy that leads to a breech presentation is prematurity. Risk factors for breech pregnancy that leads to a breech presentation include having an abnormally shaped uterus, too little or too much amniotic fluid, having twins, triplets or other multiple pregnancies, fibroids of the uterus and placenta previa.
There are several variations of a breech pregnancy or breech presentation. These include a frank breech presentation, in which the hips of the fetus are flexed and the legs extend straight upward with the knees straight and the feet at the head or face.
A breech pregnancy or breech presentation called a complete breech presentation occurs when the hips and the knees of the fetus are flexed. A breech pregnancy or breech presentation called a footling breech presentation occurs when one or both of the infant's feet cover or push through the cervix of the uterus.
A breech pregnancy that results in a breech presentation occurs in only about 3 percent to 5 percent of pregnancies with a single infant. A breech pregnancy that results in a breech presentation is more common in multiple pregnancies, in which there are twins, triplets or other multiple infants.
A diagnosis of breech pregnancy and/or breech presentation is made by ultrasound. In the later stages of pregnancy, it is often possible for a licensed physician or nurse midwife to feel a breech presentation through the wall of a pregnant woman's abdomen. A variety of other tests may be performed to evaluate overall health of the mother and the fetus. Tests can include blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), a chemistry panel, urinanalysis, and blood glucose testing. Amniocentesis may also be performed for some women.
It is possible that a diagnosis of breech pregnancy can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of breech pregnancy.
Breech pregnancy can be treated or addressed to minimize any complications that can occur during labor and delivery. Treatment can include manual manipulation to turn the baby into the correct head-down position (vertex presentation). This is called external cephalic version.
Infants in a breech presentation that are unable to be repositioned into the vertex position are often delivered by cesarean section. In some cases it is possible to safely deliver an infant vaginally in a breech presentation. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of breech pregnancy. ...more »
Breech pregnancy: Pregnancy with fetus reversed with head up.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Breech pregnancy is available below.
Breech pregnancy: Symptoms
Many women are unaware of a breech pregnancy, especially in early pregnancy when the baby is small and tends to move around and shift positions often. If the infant remains in a breech presentation and does not move into a head-down position (vertex presentation) in late pregnancy, a woman may be able to feel the baby's head in the upper area of the abdomen and/or possibly a ...more symptoms »
Breech pregnancy: Treatments
Treatment of a breech pregnancy begins with prevention. This includes avoiding premature labor, which can occur before an infant has shifted into the normal head-down presentation for delivery. premature labor can also result is other serious complications of the infant, including premature delivery, low birth weight and respiratory distress.
Preventing premature labor ...more treatments »
Breech pregnancy: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of breech pregnancy and breech presentation may be delayed or missed when a woman does not seek regular prenatal care. In addition, a woman with a breech pregnancy or breech presentation often has no symptoms. Because a breech pregnancy and breech presentation can lead to serious complications, such as difficult vaginal delivery, fetal ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Breech pregnancy
- Reversed presentation of the fetus with head upwards
- Bottom of fetus near the vagina
- Head of fetus upwards
- more symptoms...»
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Treatments for Breech pregnancy
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treatments for Breech pregnancy
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Breech pregnancy: Complications
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Causes of Breech pregnancy
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Definitions of Breech pregnancy:
A malpresentation of the FETUS at near term or during OBSTETRIC LABOR with the fetal cephalic pole in the fundus of the UTERUS. There are three types of breech: the complete breech with flexed hips and knees; the incomplete breech with one or both hips partially or fully extended; the frank breech with flexed hips and extended knees.
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