JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Planned caesarean section versus planned vaginal birth for breech presentation at term: a randomised multicentre trial. Term Breech Trial Collaborative Group

M E Hannah, W J Hannah, S A Hewson, E D Hodnett, S Saigal, A R Willan
Lancet 2000 October 21, 356 (9239): 1375-83
11052579

BACKGROUND: For 3-4% of pregnancies, the fetus will be in the breech presentation at term. For most of these women, the approach to delivery is controversial. We did a randomised trial to compare a policy of planned caesarean section with a policy of planned vaginal birth for selected breech-presentation pregnancies.

METHODS: At 121 centres in 26 countries, 2088 women with a singleton fetus in a frank or complete breech presentation were randomly assigned planned caesarean section or planned vaginal birth. Women having a vaginal breech delivery had an experienced clinician at the birth. Mothers and infants were followed-up to 6 weeks post partum. The primary outcomes were perinatal mortality, neonatal mortality, or serious neonatal morbidity; and maternal mortality or serious maternal morbidity. Analysis was by intention to treat.

FINDINGS: Data were received for 2083 women. Of the 1041 women assigned planned caesarean section, 941 (90.4%) were delivered by caesarean section. Of the 1042 women assigned planned vaginal birth, 591 (56.7%) delivered vaginally. Perinatal mortality, neonatal mortality, or serious neonatal morbidity was significantly lower for the planned caesarean section group than for the planned vaginal birth group (17 of 1039 [1.6%] vs 52 of 1039 [5.0%]; relative risk 0.33 [95% CI 0.19-0.56]; p<0.0001). There were no differences between groups in terms of maternal mortality or serious maternal morbidity (41 of 1041 [3.9%] vs 33 of 1042 [3.2%]; 1.24 [0.79-1.95]; p=0.35).

INTERPRETATION: Planned caesarean section is better than planned vaginal birth for the term fetus in the breech presentation; serious maternal complications are similar between the groups.

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