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Fetal Problems in Breech Position

Fetal Problems in Breech Position

The vast majority of breech position newborns are normal at birth. But fetal abnormalities are more common in breech newborns than in newborns delivered in the head-down position.

There is often no clear reason why the baby did not turn head-down. But experts have noted that some fetal conditions, such as neurological and muscular problems, are linked to breech birth. Such conditions are thought to make a fetus less able to turn to the head-down vertex position before birth.1

Fetal problems most commonly seen in breech infants born at full term include:2

Many of these conditions can be detected by tests early in pregnancy.



  1. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Breech presentation and delivery. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 527–543. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  2. Klatt TE, Cruikshank DP (2008). Breech, other malpresentations, and umbilical cord complications. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 400–416. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerWilliam Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Last RevisedJuly 25, 2011

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