Term breech deliveries in the Netherlands: Did the increased cesarean rate affect neonatal outcome? A population-based cohort study

Floortje Vlemmix*, Lester Bergenhenegouwen, Jelle M. Schaaf, Sabine Ensing, Ageeth N. Rosman, Anita C.J. Ravelli, Joris A.M. Van Der Post, Arno Verhoeven, Gerard H. Visser, Ben W.J. Mol, Marjolein Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the increased cesarean rate for term breech presentation on neonatal outcome. We also investigated whether the clinical case selection for vaginal delivery applied by Dutch obstetricians led to an optimization of neonatal outcome, or whether there is still room for improvement in terms of perinatal outcome. Design Retrospective cohort. Setting The Netherlands. Population Singleton term breech deliveries from 37+0 to 41+6 weeks, excluding fetuses with congenital malformations or antenatal death. Method We used data from the Dutch national perinatal registry from 1999 up to 2007. Main outcome measures Perinatal mortality and morbidity. Results We studied 58 320 women with a term breech delivery. There was an increase in the elective cesarean rate (from 24 to 60%). As a consequence, overall perinatal mortality decreased [1.3‰ vs. 0.7‰; odds ratio 0.51 (95% confidence interval 0.28-0.93)], whereas it remained stable in the planned vaginal birth group [1.7‰ vs. 1.6‰; odds ratio 0.96 (95% confidence interval 0.52-1.76)]. The number of cesareans done to prevent one perinatal death was 338. Conclusions Adjustment of the national guidelines after publication of the Term Breech Trial resulted in a shift towards elective cesarean and a decrease of perinatal mortality and morbidity among women delivering a child in breech at term. Still, 40% of these women attempt vaginal birth. The relative safety of an elective cesarean should be weighed against the consequences of a scarred uterus in future pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-896
Number of pages9
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Breech presentation
  • elective cesarean
  • mode of delivery
  • neonatal morbidity
  • neonatal mortality


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