Introduction: 3-4% of pregnant women present with a fetal breech position at term. National societies regard vaginal breech delivery as a safe option, but only for a specific and thoroughly counseled group of patients. To avoid adverse outcome, many practitioners recommend elective cesarean section once their patients go past the estimated due date. Since encompassing evidence is missing, the evaluation on this common clinical practice is needed.
Objective: This study compares the short-term maternal and fetal outcome in intended vaginally breech deliveries before the estimated due date (until 40 0/7 weeks of gestation) to the outcome of deliveries carried out past the estimated due date (later than 40 0/7 weeks of gestation).
Methods: This prospective cohort study includes 827 women who presented for an intended vaginal breech delivery of a singleton at our perinatal center between January 2010 and December 2016.
Results: 447 patients (54%) delivered before or at their estimated due date, 380 (46%) of pregnancies continued after the estimated due date. Comparing both groups, no significant difference in maternal and neonatal short-term mortality and morbidity was found. The rate of caesarian sections was increased in the group of patients, who delivered later than 40 1/7 weeks of gestation. Here, the likelihood for delivery maneuvers was also increased.
Conclusion: This study provides evidence, that an elective cesarean section for breech presentations at term is not obligatory when the estimated due date has passed in singleton pregnancy.
Keywords: Breech; Delivery date; Delivery mode; Vaginal delivery; Week of pregnancy.
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