Complications following Breech Delivery

Breech delivery is the delivering of a baby through the vagina with its feet and legs coming before the babies head. Thus, it encounters many obstacles and would risk in developing certain complications which is either nonexistent or rare in a usual head first delivery of a baby.

In a breech delivery, the lower part of the pelvis will be partly empty as the foot and the legs do not fit-in adequately as it does with the head. Therefore, it is possible for any other organ to fill in this empty space and this could lead to several complications.

Let us see some of the complications that could arise in babies following breech delivery or following breech extraction.

*Cord prolapse

The umbilical cord is the pulse line for the baby while in the womb and any disruption to its flow would be detrimental for the baby’s life. In breech delivery, as the foot and the legs reaches outside, the umbilical cord can lodge in to the partially empty pelvis and thus reach out along with the legs. The appearance of the umbilical cord outside the cervix, before delivering the baby is known as cord prolapse. Such prolapses can lead to sudden cord spasm as well as compressions and therefore deprive the oxygen supply to the brain. Thus, clinicians are quite weary of this fact and always will keep an eye on such complications while doing a breech extract.

*Head entrapment

Following the delivery of the legs, the baby’s head will have to negotiate the path which was previously negotiated by a relatively smaller part of the body. In certain instances, the head can become trapped and further progression would be halted. Another possibility in such instances would be the cord compression which can take place if it gets trapped between the head and the bony pelvis. Therefore, proper assessment of the baby’s head size as well as the size of the maternal pelvis would be vital before embarking on a vaginal delivery for a fetus in breech position.

*Head injury

While breech delivery is taking place, it is possible for the brain and the skull to get injured due to the pressures exerted at the time of rapid passage through the pelvis. The underlying mechanism in such rapid transit would be the acute compression and decompression forces to the fragile brain as well as the skull. This would not be a problem in case of head first delivery as the compression and decompression forces would be applied in a gradual manner rather than as acute insults.

Apart from these complications, there could be other complications that are displayed by these babies. Therefore, the decision to go ahead with a breech delivery should be taken after thorough assessment of the maternal and fetal states which could lead to complications and if decided appropriately, the breech delivery can be a safe alternative to surgical options such as Caesars.