The case for and against vaginal breech delivery


Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK Email:


  • • Critics continue to raise doubts about the conclusions of the Term Breech Trial.
  • • Subsequent European population studies have also concluded that the breech neonate benefits from elective caesarean section.
  • • Smaller population studies demonstrate the success of vaginal delivery in selected populations.

Learning objectives:

  • • To be aware of criticisms of the Term Breech Trial and other literature that contradicts its findings.
  • • To understand the difficulties of selecting suitable women for trial of vaginal breech delivery.
  • • To be able to use current evidence when counselling women about their delivery options.

Ethical issues:

  • • How can the neonatal advantages of caesarean delivery be balanced with maternal morbidity and the potential for complications in future pregnancies?
  • • Should vaginal breech delivery still be considered a safe mode of delivery?

Please cite this article as: Deans CL, Penn Z. The case for and against vaginal breech delivery. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2008;10:139–144.