breech presentation

Last reviewed 01/2018

Breech is the most common malpresentation, occurring in 3% of pregnancies. It is thought to increase foetal mortality, but it is unclear how much this increase is due to the breech presentation or due to the factors which predispose to breech.

There are various types of breech:

  • frank breech - hips flexed, legs extended at the knee (i.e. feet by ears) - 60-70%
  • flexed breech - also called complete - both legs flexed at hip and knee (i.e. legs crossed) - 30-40%
  • footling breech - at least one leg presents below the breech - < 1%; this type of breech presentation carries the greatest risk of cord prolapse