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The vast majority of breech position newborns are normal at birth. But fetal abnormalities are more common in breech newborns than in newborns delivered in the head-down position.
There is often no clear reason why the baby did not turn head-down. But experts have noted that some fetal conditions, such as neurological and muscular problems, are linked to breech birth. Such conditions are thought to make a fetus less able to turn to the head-down vertex position before birth.1
Fetal problems most commonly seen in breech infants born at full term include:2
Many of these conditions can be detected by tests early in pregnancy.
- Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Breech presentation and delivery. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 527–543. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Klatt TE, Cruikshank DP (2008). Breech, other malpresentations, and umbilical cord complications. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 400–416. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Last Revised: July 25, 2011
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