[Breech delivery and scarred uterus: a special obstetrical situation?]

J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2013 Jun;42(4):351-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2012.10.013. Epub 2013 Mar 1.
[Article in French]


Aim: The management of breech delivery in patients with a history of caesarean section is a special situation requiring to anticipate the delivery route if the usual prerequisites for the acceptance of vaginal breech delivery are present. Does a history of caesarean section imply a systematic refusal of vaginal delivery in case of breech presentation or an alternative to an iterative caesarean still exists?

Materials and methods: An observational study was undertaken in our level III labour ward from January 1st 1994 to June 30th 2010 on 91 patients with a history of caesarean section and who had breech deliveries of singleton pregnancies at more than 35weeks of amenorrhea. Maternal, obstetrical and neonatal parameters were collected. Patients were divided into three groups: vaginal delivery, caesarean section after an accepted vaginal birth trial, elective caesarean section.

Results: The rate of an accepted vaginal birth trial was 24.2% (22 cases) with a 36.4% (eight patients) success rate in this group. There were two (2.9%) unplanned vaginal births. Fourteen patients (15.4%) had caesarian sections after an accepted vaginal birth trial: ten before labour and four during labour for dynamic dystocia or non-reassuring fetal status. Most caesarean sections before labour in case of an accepted vaginal birth trial were justified by an intercurrent factor requiring induction of labour. Neonatal factors did not show any increased morbidity or mortality in the vaginal birth group. No Apgar score was found to be less than or equal to 7 at 5minutes. Umbilical arterial pH and lactate measured as from 2001 were similar between the groups. Indeed, the mean arterial pH after vaginal birth was 7.19 as compared to 7.22 in case of caesarean section after an accepted vaginal birth trial, and 7.26 after elective caesarean section. Likewise, the mean lactate measurement was at 4.71mmol/L after vaginal birth versus 4.54 and 3.07 in the other two groups. Only neonates born after elective caesarean sections were transferred to intensive care (four cases).

Conclusion: Vaginal breech delivery in case of a scarred uterus is possible, if each obstetrical situation is correctly studied to authorize a vaginal birth trial after a careful selection of patients and a strict management of labour. Vaginal birth does not seem to increase maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in this situation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breech Presentation / epidemiology
  • Breech Presentation / therapy*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Cicatrix / epidemiology
  • Cicatrix / rehabilitation
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Contraindications
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trial of Labor
  • Uterus / pathology*
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult