The breech presentation is characterized by the birth of a baby in a feet first fetal presentation. While most babies are born head-first, roughly 4% of babies are in a breech position at the time of birth. Because babies born in the breech presentation tend to face difficulties navigating through the birth canal, breech births are known to cause brain damage, cerebral palsy (CP), and a number of other lasting physical and mental injuries.
Whether your child’s cerebral palsy stemmed from a breech birth or from another labor and delivery injury, a practiced and knowledgeable lawyer at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys can help you take action against any negligent care that may be responsible for your child’s injuries. To begin a free case review with one of our Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers, complete this contact form or call us toll-free at (888) 592-1857. Our legal and medical team will answer your questions and inform you of your legal options.
What Is Breech Presentation?
In breech presentation, a baby is positioned to exit the pelvis buttocks or feet first. During a full pregnancy term, there is usually enough room in the uterus for babies to move into the normal, head-down presentation, but some babies remain in a variation of one of the four breech positions. These include:
- Complete breech: The baby is positioned cross-legged with feet beside the buttocks.
- Footling breech: One or both feet come out first during delivery.
- Frank breech: The buttocks come out first during delivery.
- Kneeling breech: One or both legs are extended at the hips and flexed at the knees.
What Injuries Are Associated with the Breech Presentation?
- Umbilical cord prolapse or compression: When the mother’s water breaks, it is possible for the umbilical cord to drop and become compressed. Additionally, the umbilical cord may become compressed as the baby moves through the birth canal, limiting oxygen to the baby. If the physician fails to immediately deliver the baby in this situation, the newborn will risk hypoxia, asphyxia, and resultant cerebral palsy.
- Nuchal cord: Breech positioning may cause the umbilical cord to move and wrap around the baby’s neck.
- Fetal distress: The pressures of the breech presentation often lead to prolonged labor, and changes in fetal heart rate can cause oxygen deprivation, ischemia, and ultimately cerebral palsy.
- Traumatic injury: Breech presentation may result in rapid passage through the mother’s pelvis, which may cause lasting brain damage.
- Forceps injury: Forceps may be used to assist the delivery of the baby’s head. Improper placement of the forceps may lead to brain swelling, seizures, and ischemia, and conditions that limit oxygen that may lead to cerebral palsy.
Is It Possible to Safely Vaginally Deliver a Baby in the Breech Presentation?
Yes, vaginal delivery of a baby in breech presentation is possible only if the four following qualifications are met:
- The baby is full-term and is in the frank presentation
- The baby’s heart rate is closely monitored and the baby shows no signs of fetal distress
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) is not present: X-rays and ultrasound readings must show that the size of the mother’s pelvis will allow safe vaginal delivery
- The hospital and physician are equipped and prepared for an emergency C-section
Breech Births, Birth Injury, and Medical Malpractice
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