Breech Presentation

Few weeks prior to your due date, the fetus starts to move to a delivery position in which the head will be closer to the birth canal. In some cases, this may fail to happen and the feet or buttocks will be delivered first. This positioning or presentation of the baby at the time of delivery is referred to as the breech presentation. About one out of 25 full term births may have a breech presentation at delivery.

Types of breech presentation

There are three major types of breech presentation

Complete breech

In this type of presentation, the buttocks of the baby are near the birth canal. The legs are folded at the knee and the feet are placed near the buttocks.

Frank breech

In this type, the buttocks are near the birth canal while the legs are kept straight up with the feet near the head.

Footling breech

Footling or incomplete breech presentation has one or both feet aiming downward near the birth canal. Most probably the feet will be delivered first to other parts.

Causes of breech presentation

The actual cause of this presentation is not clear. It is found to be more common in

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Subsequent pregnancies
  • Too little amniotic fluid
  • Too much amniotic fluid
  • Abnormally shaped uterus
  • Uterus with fibroids
  • Placenta previa


The position of the baby is usually determined at the beginning of the third trimester by the doctor. Your gynecologist may feel your abdomen to locate baby’s head, abdomen, and back. Most of the babies, even when in breech position at this time, may turn over the next two months. If the position is not clear by 36 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor may go for an internal examination to confirm the actual position of the baby. An ultrasound also may be suggested to confirm the same. An ultrasound also may be suggested to confirm the same.


A breech baby may be turned using medical and natural techniques, mostly within 32 and 37th week of pregnancy. The method adopted and the success rate of each method may vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. The common medical method adopted is external cephalic version (ECV). Some prefer natural methods like music and breech tilt to bring the baby to head-first position.

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