Breech presentation and vaginal breech birth are often feared as ‘high-risk’ with catastrophic outcomes, which is, in part, due to the discredited Term Breech Trail. This fear has led to close to universal caesarean section for the breech-presenting baby. Midwives (and medical practitioners) who support vaginal breech birth do not necessarily share this view, particularly at term. Rather breech presentation can be seen as a variation of usual/normal presentation.

Breech needs to be viewed as an alerting factor which does carry an increased potential for birth abnormality, cord prolapse and assistance during birth. But, with skilled attendance and supportive care, the well woman can also give birth to her breech baby without intervention and with safe outcomes.

All midwives must be competent to recognise the need for obstetric specialist consultation and, where possible, refer in a timely manner, though this is not always possible when birth is imminent in the out-of-hospital setting. Midwives also need to be able to facilitate resolution of the difficult breech birth if this arises. These manoeuvres are readily teachable and learnable through simulation as for other emergency situations, for example, shoulder dystocia.

This Workshop particularly addresses physiological progress in labour and when it would be appropriate to intervene rather than routinely using manoeuvres.

Please view these two movie presentations prior to the Workshop:


Dr Maggie Banks