SOGC clinical practice guideline: Vaginal delivery of breech presentation: no. 226, June 2009

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009 Nov;107(2):169-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2009.07.002.


Objectives: To review the physiology of breech birth; to discern the risks and benefits of a trial of labour versus planned Caesarean section; and to recommend to obstetricians, family physicians, midwives, obstetrical nurses, anaesthesiologists, pediatricians, and other health care providers selection criteria, intrapartum management parameters, and delivery techniques for a trial of vaginal breech birth.

Options: Trial of labour in an appropriate setting or delivery by pre-emptive Caesarean section for women with a singleton breech fetus at term.

Outcomes: Reduced perinatal mortality, short-term neonatal morbidity, longterm infant morbidity, and short- and long-term maternal morbidity and mortality.

Evidence: Medline was searched for randomized trials, prospective cohort studies, and selected retrospective cohort studies comparing planned Caesarean section with a planned trial of labour; selected epidemiological studies comparing delivery by Caesarean section with vaginal breech delivery; and studies comparing long-term outcomes in breech infants born vaginally or by Caesarean section. Additional articles were identified through bibliography tracing up to June 1, 2008.

Values: The evidence collected was reviewed by the Maternal Fetal Medicine Committee of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and quantified using the criteria and classifications of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.

Validation: This guideline was compared with the 2006 American College of Obstetrician's Committee Opinion on the mode of term singleton breech delivery and with the 2006 Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists Green Top Guideline: The Management of Breech Presentation. The document was reviewed by Canadian and International clinicians with particular expertise in breech vaginal delivery.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Breech Presentation*
  • Canada
  • Cesarean Section
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Patient Selection
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Trial of Labor