Manual rotation in occiput posterior or transverse positions: risk factors and consequences on the cesarean delivery rate

Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Oct;110(4):873-9. doi: 10.1097/


Objective: To identify the risk factors for failure of manual rotation in patients with occiput posterior or transverse positions during labor and to study the cesarean rate according to the success of the rotation.

Methods: Case-control study comparing failure and success of manual rotation. Cases were all fetuses for whom rotation failed. We used computerized randomization (without matching) to select one control with a successful rotation during the same period for each case with a failed rotation. Maternal, neonatal, and obstetric risk factors for failed rotation were studied with bivariable and multivariable analyses. Mode of delivery was analyzed according to success of the rotation.

Results: During the study period, manual rotations were performed in 796 patients. The procedure failed in 77 (9.7%) women. Attempted rotation before full dilatation tripled the risk of failure in comparison with rotation at full dilatation (adjusted odds ratio 3.4, 95% confidence interval 1.3-8.6), and rotation for failure to progress quadrupled that risk in comparison with prophylactic rotation (adjusted odds ratio 3.3, 95% confidence interval 1.2-8.5). Failure of manual rotation was associated with a higher cesarean delivery rate than was success (58.8% compared with 3.8%, P<.001). All women with unsuccessful manual rotations who delivered vaginally delivered in the occiput posterior position, and all women with successful manual rotation delivering vaginally delivered in the occiput anterior position.

Conclusion: Manual rotation may be an effective technique for reducing the cesarean delivery rate in patients with an occiput posterior or transverse position during labor. The success or failure of attempted manual rotation depends upon obstetric conditions, including the indication for rotation and cervical dilatation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Presentation*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Failure
  • Version, Fetal / statistics & numerical data*