The New York Times “Well” blog reports that a “study of over 50,000 breech deliveries, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that compared with C-sections, vaginal deliveries of breech babies were much more likely to result in an injured infant.” The study found that “breech babies delivered by C-section during labor had 2.79 times the rate of injury, and those delivered vaginally had 3.6 times the rate.”
Some breech babies should not be delivered vaginally in any case, according to the lead author, Dr. Janet Lyons, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia. Those who are not full term, or with feet first instead of buttocks first, or those with birth anomalies like hydrocephalus are not good candidates. But, she added, there will always be women who want vaginal delivery of a breech baby.
“The role of the provider,” she said, “is to decide who is suited to a vaginal breech and who is not, and to make sure the woman has all the information to make a good decision. ”