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Types of breech positions

Types of breech positions


is the second most common type of breech position, also referred to as a flexed breech. Women having their second or subsequent baby will more likely have a breech baby in this position. Both the baby's hips and the knees are flexed (or bent), meaning that they sit with their legs crossed, therefore both their feet and buttocks sit close to the woman's cervix. A complete breech position is considered acceptable for a vaginal birth, if the woman chooses this option. Babies in a complete breech position have the most favourable chance of being turned into a head down position with an ECV. There is a slightly higher chance of cord prolapse with this type of breech (about 5 to 10% incidence, compared to 0.5% with a frank breech).

Baby in a Complete breech position Image 6-35 image of a baby in a complete breech position.

Complete breech bottom and feet Image 6-38 shows how the baby's bottom and feet sit over the woman's cervix.

Footling breech or kneeling breech (incomplete breech)

are the least common types of breech positions. The baby's foot (or feet) sit over the woman's cervix, leading the way or the baby is in a kneeling position (very rare) with their knees coming first. These types of breech positions are considered the most precarious, because of the higher chance of cord prolapse if the waters break (an incidence of about 8 to 20%). Babies in these positions are generally always recommended to be born by caesarean.

Baby in a Footling breech position Image 6-36 shows a baby in a footling breech position.

Stargazers.

This term is used to describe when the baby is in one of the above breech positions but their neck is fully extended, so they are 'looking up to the stars'. This happens for about 5% of breech babies and is sometimes caused by the baby's cord being around their neck. Stargazers are always delivered by caesarean, as it is very difficult for them to be born vaginally with a high risk of spinal cord injury if they do.

Baby in a Stargazer breech position Image 6-37 shows a baby in a Stargazer position.

Updated November 2008

Information Sources

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