Supporting Women Planning a Vaginal Breech Birth: An International Survey

Birth. 2016 Dec;43(4):353-357. doi: 10.1111/birt.12249. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of women who planned a vaginal breech birth.

Method: An online survey was developed consisting of questions regarding women's experiences surrounding planned vaginal breech birth. The survey was distributed between April 2014 and January 2015 to closed membership Facebook groups that had a consumer focus on vaginal breech birth.

Results: In total, 204 unique responses to the survey were obtained from women who had sought the option of a vaginal breech birth in a previous pregnancy. Most women (80.8%) stated that they were happy with the birth choices they made, and a significant proportion (89.4%) would attempt a vaginal breech birth in subsequent pregnancies. Less than half of women were formally referred to a clinician skilled in vaginal breech birth when their baby was diagnosed breech (41.8%), while the remainder sourced a clinician themselves. Half of the women felt supported by their care provider (56.7%) and less than half (42.3%) felt supported by family and friends.

Conclusion: The women who responded to this international survey sought the option of a vaginal breech birth, were subsequently happy with this decision, and would attempt a vaginal breech birth in their next pregnancy. Access to vaginal breech birth is important for some women; however, this choice may be challenging to achieve. Consistent information and support from clinicians is important to assist decision-making.

Keywords: decision-making; information; support; vaginal breech birth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breech Presentation / psychology*
  • Cesarean Section / psychology*
  • Decision Making
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Media
  • Surveys and Questionnaires