Population trends in cesarean delivery for breech presentation in the United States, 1997-2003

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jul;199(1):59.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.11.059. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether cesarean delivery for breech has increased in the United States.

Study design: We calculated cesarean rates for term singletons in breech/malpresentation from 1997 to 2003 using National Center for Health Statistics data. We compared rates by sociodemographic groups and state. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to see whether factors associated with cesarean delivery differed over time.

Results: Breech cesarean rates increased overall from 83.8% to 85.1%. There was a significant increase in rates for most sociodemographic groups. There was little to no increase for mothers younger than 30 years old. There was wide variability in rates by state, 61.6-94.2% in 1997. Higher breech incidence correlated with lower cesarean rates, suggesting potential state bias in reporting breech.

Conclusion: In the United States, breech infants are predominantly born by cesarean. There was a small increase in this trend from 1998 to 2002. There is wide variability by state, which is not explained by sociodemographic patterns and may be due to reporting differences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breech Presentation / epidemiology*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cesarean Section / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • United States / epidemiology