The relation of breech presentation at term to cerebral palsy

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Sep;106(9):943-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1999.tb08434.x.


Objective: To examine the relation between breech delivery and cerebral palsy, considering the influence of intrauterine growth, low Apgar score at birth, and mode of delivery.

Design: Register-based, case-control study.

Population: A cohort of infants with cerebral palsy born between 1979 and 1986 in East Denmark, identified by linkage of the cerebral palsy register with the national birth register. Discharge letters from births of breech infants with cerebral palsy were reviewed.

Main outcome measures: Presentation, mode of delivery, gestational age, birthweight, Apgar score, type of cerebral palsy, severity of handicap.

Results: Breech presentation at term was associated with a borderline significantly higher risk of cerebral palsy than vertex presentation (OR 1.56; 95% CI 0.9-2.4). Breech presentation infants more often had a lower Apgar score (< 7 at 5 minutes) and were smaller for gestational age (SGA < 2 SD) than were those with vertex presentation; infants with a low Apgar score, or who were small for gestational age, had a higher risk of cerebral palsy. After stratification by being small for gestational age the risk of cerebral palsy was not related to presentation. There were no differences between breech and vertex infants with cerebral palsy in terms of low Apgar score, being small for gestational age, mode of delivery, and severity of the handicap. Breech presentation infants were more often classified as diplegic (77.8% versus 42.3% in cephalic infants).

Conclusion: The risk of cerebral palsy among term breech presentation infants does not seem to be related to mode of delivery, but is more likely linked to a higher rate of being small for gestational age in breech infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Birth Weight
  • Breech Presentation*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology*
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / adverse effects
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Pregnancy