External Cephalic Version-A Chance for Vaginal Delivery at Breech Presentation

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Nov 10;58(11):1619. doi: 10.3390/medicina58111619.


Background and Objectives: In recent years, the rate of caesarean section (CS) has increased constantly. Although vaginal breech delivery has a long history, breech presentation has become the third most common indication for CS. This study aims to identify factors associated with the success of external cephalic version (ECV), underline the success rate of ECV for breech presentation and highlight the high rate of vaginal delivery after successful ECV. Material and Methods: This retrospective observational study included 113 patients with singleton fetuses in breech presentation, who underwent ECV from January 2016 to March 2021 in the Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Diakonieklinikum Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. Maternal and fetal parameters and data related to procedure and delivery were collected. Possible predictors of successful ECV were evaluated. Results: The success rate of ECV was 54.9%. The overall rate of vaginal birth was 44.2%, regardless of ECV outcome. The vaginal birth rate after successful ECV was 80.6%. Overall, 79.0% of women with successful ECV delivered spontaneously without complications, 19.4% delivered through CS performed during labor by medical necessity, and 1.6% delivered through vacuum extraction. ECV was performed successfully in three of the four women with history of CS. Gravidity, parity, maternal age, gestational age, fetal weight, and amniotic fluid index (AFI) were significantly correlated with the outcome of ECV. Conclusions: ECV for breech presentation is a safe procedure with a good success rate, thus increasing the proportion of vaginal births. Maternal and fetal parameters can be used to estimate the chances of successful ECV.

Keywords: breech presentation; caesarean section; external cephalic version; vaginal birth.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Breech Presentation*
  • Cesarean Section
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Version, Fetal* / methods

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.