Open Accessibility Menu

What Causes a Baby to Be Breech?

What Causes a Baby to Be Breech?

A breech birth is when a baby is born bottom-first instead of head-first. Breech births have a higher chance of complications during delivery than traditional “cephalic-presentation” (head-first) births, increasing the danger to both the baby and the mother. According to Wikipedia, around 3–5% of women at term (37–40 weeks pregnant) have a breech baby. We sat down with Amber Vegh, Ogden Clinic OB/GYN, to ask why this happens and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it.

Q: Why are some babies born breech?

A: There are several possible causes. Most often, the mother’s anatomy can play a major role in causing a baby to be breech. There are some women that have what’s called a “uterine anomaly,” which means their uterus does not have the traditional triangular shape – instead, the uterus is more “heart-shaped.” It is common for an unborn baby’s head to get nestled into the top of one of the two sides of that heart-shaped uterus, and not want to move. There’s really very little that can be done to prevent a breech birth in this situation. These babies are more likely to be delivered pre-term, or even suffer from some minor growth restriction while in the womb.

Fortunately, all of these conditions can be spotted and planned for well before the baby is delivered. If we know that a baby will be breech at the time of birth, we almost always perform a C-section as the safest option for both the baby and the mother.

Q: If a woman has a C-section, is it possible for her to have a traditional “cephalic-presentation” birth with her next child?

A: Yes, it’s possible. It’s called a “Trial of Labor after Cesarean” (TOLAC). And then, if it’s successful, it’ll be called a “Vaginal Breech after Cesarean” (VBAC).

Ultimately, each woman and situation is unique. We have a calculation process that we go through to decipher exactly what the risks will be. Regardless, during a TOLAC, we’ll be fully prepared to perform a C-section if needed.


Amber Vegh

Amber Vegh, OB/GYN

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Amber Vegh, please click here or call 801-475-3100.