Breech presentation at a district level hospital in South Africa
Introduction: The Term Breech Trial has led to obstetricians opting for Caesarean section as the mode of delivery for this presentation, even in poor countries. Concerns related to this approach are the resultant increase in Caesarean section rates and their associated complications, particularly in under-resourced countries, which are faced with financial and human-resource expertise constraints.
Method: This was a retrospective chart review of women who presented at term with a singleton breech presentation at the antenatal clinic and in labour, from January 2005 to December 2007, at a district level hospital in South Africa.
Results: There was a total of 19 197 deliveries, of which 466 were singleton term breech deliveries, giving a rate of 2.4%. Of the 297 women who had antenatal care and had been allocated to planned Caesarean section, 271 had the planned operation. There were no neonatal deaths in the planned Caesarean section group. The emergency Caesarean section group and the group in which no decision was made on the mode of delivery were associated with higher maternal complication rates than in the group that had planned Caesarean sections. The highest neonatal complication rate was in the group that had unplanned vaginal deliveries.
Conclusion: In a district hospital in South Africa, the mode of delivery for breech presentations is usually a planned Caesarean section. Unplanned
vaginal deliveries are associated with significant perinatal mortality.
Keywords: breech deliveries; district hospital; poor countries