222 consecutive fetuses found by ultrasound to be in breech presentation in the 33rd gestational week were followed with repeated examinations in weeks 35 and 38. Ninety-one of these fetuses persisted in breech presentation until delivery, while cephalic version occurred in 131. The frequency of hip joint instability was 21% in the breech delivered group and 1.5% in the vertex delivered group. The position of the fetal legs was established at each ultrasound examination. The intrauterine fetal attitude was classified as extended when the fetuses had extended knees and maximally flexed hips at all ultrasound examinations. This occurred in 30 breech delivered fetuses, 47% of which developed hip joint instability. Only 8% of the breech born infants with flexed legs in utero developed hip joint instability. It is concluded that instability of the hip joint is a consequence of the intrauterine attitude, rather than of the breech delivery per se.