[Breech Presentation: CNGOF Guidelines for Clinical Practice - Benefits and Risks for the Neonate and Child of Planned Vaginal Delivery versus Elective Cesarean Section]

Gynecol Obstet Fertil Senol. 2020 Jan;48(1):95-108. doi: 10.1016/j.gofs.2019.10.023. Epub 2019 Oct 31.
[Article in French]


Objective: To provide guidelines regarding the benefits and risks for the neonate and the child of planning vaginal delivery versus planning elective cesarean section in case of term breech presentation.

Methods: MedLine and Cochrane Library databases search and review of the main foreign guidelines.

Results: In case of term breech presentation, planned vaginal delivery might be associated with an increased composite risk of perinatal mortality or occurrence of a combined outcome of serious neonatal morbidity in comparison to elective cesarean section (LE2). In case of planned vaginal delivery of term breech presentation, the risk of perinatal mortality is around 1‰ (LE3). It is potentially less but still exists in case of elective cesarean section (LE2). Risks of neonatal trauma - especially fracture of clavicle and breech hematoma -, Apgar score lower than 7 at 5minutes, and need for neonatal intubation and ventilation, are increased in case of planned vaginal delivery (LE2) and are around 1% (LE3). However, no difference has been demonstrated between planned vaginal and planned cesarean delivery regarding neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years (LE2), cognitive and psychomotor outcomes between 5 and 8 years (LE3), and adult intellectual performances (LE4).

Conclusions: In case of term breech presentation, risks of severe complications for neonate and child are low in case of planned vaginal delivery or elective cesarean section. Short-term benefit/risk balance for the neonate might favor elective cesarean section but long-term morbidity seems to be similar whatever the delivery route (Professional consensus).

Keywords: Accouchement par voie basse; Breech; Cesarean section; Césarienne; Devenir néonatal; Devenir à long terme; Guidelines; Long-term outcome; Mode d’accouchement; Mode of delivery; Neonatal outcome; Recommandations; Siège; Vaginal delivery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries / epidemiology
  • Breech Presentation / therapy*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mandibulofacial Dysostosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors