Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Fetal Problems in Breech Position

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.


  1. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Breech presentation and delivery. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 527–543. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  2. 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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Last Revised July 25, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy

WebMD Special Sections