Breech delivery in the all fours position: a prospective observational comparative study with classic assistance

J Perinat Med. 2015 Nov;43(6):707-13. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2014-0048.


Objective: Vaginal delivery of fetal breech presentation is considered to be a challenge for obstetricians. The purpose of this study was to show that vaginal delivery in all fours position is feasible and safe for mother and child compared with vaginal breech and classic support.

Methods: A single-center prospective observational case series of breech delivery (n=41) in all fours position was compared to a retrospective cohort of breech deliveries in the form of a matched-pair analysis.

Results: Deliveries in the all fours position successfully took place without obstetric intervention in 70.7% of deliveries (n=29/41), and those including intervention in 90.2% (n=37/41). The rate of maternal perineal injuries was reduced (14.6% vs. 58.5%, P<0.001). Newborns delivered in all fours position had increased prenatal hypoxic stress with a pH of 7.19 [95% confidence interval (CI) 7.16-7.22] vs. a pH of 7.24 (95% CI 7.21-7.27; P=0.016). With n=24 vs. n=16, a higher number of newborns had a pH of <7.20 (P=0.03) and decreased base excess of -7.2 mmol/L (95% CI -8.2-6.2) vs. -4.8 mmol/L (95% CI -5.7-4.0; P<0.001). However, this had no clinical consequences for the newborns (5 min Apgar score <9: n=5 vs. n=4, not significant; transfer rate to neonatal intensive care unit n=7 vs. n=6, not significant).

Conclusion: This is the first clinical evaluation of breech delivery in the all fours position. It is a feasible non-interventional obstetric delivery method. It seems to be safe for the fetus with reduced maternal morbidity. Vaginal delivery of fetal breech presentation, even in the all fours position, creates stress for the newborn.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breech Presentation / therapy*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies