Genes May Increase Chance of Baby Born Breech

Genes May Increase Chance of Baby Born Breech

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 31, 2008 in DNA and Disease

newbornAt my 30-week prenatal visit last week, the doctor told me the baby was in a transverse position. Hopefully she’ll get her little rear in gear at my 34-week visit and be head down unless she wants to be really ornery as only about 3 percent of babies are breech at birth (buttocks or the feet down). Her older brother was in the “correct” position almost the entire time so I can tell she’s going to be a handful!

Risk factors for breech delivery include:

  • First baby
  • Older mother
  • Low gestational age
  • Low birth weight
  • Uterine malformations
  • Pelvic tumours
  • Site of placental attachment
  • Low volume of amniotic fluid
  • Congenital anomalies

Breech delivery is associated with increased perinatal mortality and morbidity.

One reason I’m not worrying too much is because a large population-based study in Norway was published last week in BMJ that showed breech deliveries are more common if the baby’s parents were born breech themselves. I know I was not born breech and I’ll assume my husband wasn’t either or my mother-in-law would have mentioned it. If the mother or father was born breech, their baby has an approximately 2-fold increase in odds of being born breech as well. The authors conclude:

Intergenerational recurrence risk of breech delivery in offspring was equally high when transmitted through fathers and mothers. It seems reasonable to attribute the observed pattern of familial predisposition to term breech delivery to genetic inheritance, predominantly through the fetus.

They also recommend that parents who were born breech inform their healthcare providers so their babies can be more closely monitored if necessary.

Please cross your fingers for me!

Image: Newborn baby from Wellcome Images under Creative Commons

(1 comment)


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1 Comment

Comment by Steven Murphy MD

OMG I didn’t know. Congratulations…..


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