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The randomized management of term frank breech presentation: a study of 208 cases

J V Collea, C Chein, E J Quilligan
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1980 May 15, 137 (2): 235-44
A prospective study of 208 women in labor at term with singleton fetuses in a frank breech presentation was carried out. One hundred fifteen patients were randomized to a vaginal delivery group and 93 to an elective cesarean section group. Of the 93 women scheduled for cesarean section, 88 were delivered according to protocol. Five women progressed rapidly in labor and were delivered vaginally without complications. Of the 115 women scheduled for vaginal delivery, x-ray pelvimetry was obtained on 112. Three women were delivered vaginally without incident before x-ray pelvimetry could be obtained. One of these women was delivered of an infant who died shortly after birth of lethal congenital anomalies. Of the 112 women with x-ray pelvimetry, 52 had one or more inadequate pelvic measurements and were scheduled for indicated cesarean section. Three women, however, were delivered vaginally without incident before operation could be performed. Of the remaining 60 patients in this group, 49 were delivered vaginally without a perinatal death. Eleven women required cesarean section for difficulties during labor. There were no maternal deaths, but 73 (49.3%) of the 148 women who were delivered by cesarean section in this study experienced postpartum morbidity. Only four (6.7%) of the 60 women delivered vaginally had postpartum complications. Based on the data, it seems resonable to allow vaginal delivery in carefully selected cases of term frank breech presentation.

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