RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Has an increased cesarean section rate for term breech delivery reduced in incidence of birth asphyxia, trauma, and death?

To evaluate whether the dramatic rise in the cesarean section rate for breech presentation (from 22% in the decade 1963 to 1973 to 94% in 1978 and 1979) has been justified, 770 term breech deliveries at the Royal Victoria Hospital during the period 1963 to 1973 and during 1978 and 1979 have been reviewed. Neonatal outcome, as determined by one neonatologist during the entire period of this study, was analyzed according to vaginal or cesarean section breech deliveries of primiparous and multiparous women. For each method of delivery and state of parity the occurrence of asphyxia neonatorum, abnormal cerebral signs, postasphyctic congenital heart failure or renal failure, and intrapartum and neonatal deaths was studied. The most severe cases were individually reviewed. While breech presentation has become a virtual indication for cesarean section in many centers, to date , there has not been an evaluation of how effective this procedure is in reducing birth asphyxia and trauma. In this study we assessed whether the trend to perform cesarean section in all term breech presentations is justified and whether neonatal morbidity and mortality rates have actually improved as a result.

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