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Breech Baby Birth Defects

There are certain complications with a breech birth, and there are a number of breech baby birth defects that one should know about.
Indrajit Deshmukh
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
A breech baby, or a breech birth, is one where the baby enters the birth canal with his feet or buttock first, while an ordinary birth is one when the baby comes out of a mother's womb head first. Premature birth is one of the main reasons behind birth defects. Some other reasons are abnormal volume of amniotic fluid and multiple pregnancy (twins). When a baby comes out with his buttocks first and his legs near his head, it's called a 'frank breech' presentation (birth). If the baby is born bottom first and cross-legged, it's a 'complete breech', and when one or both the feet come out first, it's a 'footling breech'. Your physician or gynecologist will be able to determine by the third trimester if the baby is going to be born in a breech position. In this article, you will learn about the various breech baby birth defects.
Breech Baby Delivery
When a physician diagnoses that the birth of the child is going to be breech, i.e., feet or buttocks first, then some precautions need to be taken at childbirth. The baby can be delivered using vaginal delivery or cesarean delivery. In vaginal delivery, care should be taken that the baby is of full term and healthy. The heart of the baby is closely monitored and the physician makes sure that the cervix of the mother is widening properly. Forceps are sometimes used to guide the baby's head out and there is a chance of cord prolapse which might cut the oxygen supply of the baby. Cesarean (C-section) delivery is used when the baby is premature and if the head of the baby is too large to come through the cervix opening.
Physical abnormalities or congenital abnormalities present at the time of birth are known as birth defects. The high mortality death in newborns is attributed to birth defects, which in turn are connected to breech birth. When the water breaks, the umbilical cord may get pressed because of the breech position and hamper the supply of oxygen to the baby. This is one major reason behind birth defects.
Autism: A brain disorder which affects social and communicative patterns is known as autism. Research has pointed that when a baby is born in a breech position, there is fear of cord prolapse and also cord compression, and in both the cases the supply of oxygen to the baby gets affected. This lack of oxygen can cause some brain damage leading to defects like autism, which tops the list.
Down Syndrome: A normal child gets 46 chromosomes from its parents, while in down syndrome a child gets 47 chromosomes. This extra genetic material causes shunted development in a child. There is no way to prevent down syndrome, nor there is conclusive scientific data linking it to breech birth. Studies have shown that the chances of a breech baby getting down syndrome is more as compared to a normal birth.
Chromosomes: Problems with the level of chromosomes or with the structure of chromosomes is also associated with breech birth. This may lead to mental retardation or development of cardiovascular diseases.
Some other defects that are linked to breech birth are spinal deformities and shunted muscular growth. These are said to happen because of the position of the baby in the uterus at the time of birth. Sometimes, an external cephalic version is tried to change the position of the breech baby into a vertex (head down position) position. In this procedure, the physician attempts to turn the baby's position by placing his/her hands on the abdomen. Similarly, an internal cephalic version maybe performed, wherein one hand is inserted in the uterus to turn the baby's position.
Most breech babies are born normal, but the percentage is higher in premature babies. The birth defects in breech babies cannot be prevented as yet, but physicians make every effort to facilitate a normal delivery.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.