Women's experiences of planning a vaginal breech birth in Australia

Caroline S.E. Homer, Nicole P. Watts, Karolina Petrovska, Chauncey M. Sjostedt, Andrew Bisits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In many countries, planned vaginal breech birth (VBB) is a rare event. After the Term Breech Trial in 2000, VBB reduced and caesarean section for breech presentation increased. Despite this, women still request VBB. The objective of this study was to explore the experiences and decision-making processes of women who had sought a VBB. 

Methods: A qualitative study using descriptive exploratory design was undertaken. Twenty-two (n=22) women who planned a VBB, regardless of eventual mode of birth were recruited. The women had given birth at one of two maternity hospitals in Australia that supported VBB. In-depth, semi-structured interviews using an interview guide were conducted. Interviews were analysed thematically. 

Results: Twenty two women were interviewed; three quarters were primiparous (n=16; 73%). Nine (41%) were already attending a hospital that supported VBB with the remaining women moving hospitals. All women actively sought a vaginal breech birth because the baby remained breech after an external cephalic version - 12 had a vaginal birth (55%) and 10 (45%) a caesarean section after labour commenced. There were four main themes: Reacting to a loss of choice and control, Wanting information that was trustworthy, Fighting the system and seeking support for VBB and The importance of 'having a go' at VBB. 

Conclusions: Women seeking a VBB value clear, consistent and relevant information in deciding about mode of birth. Women desire autonomy to choose vaginal breech birth and to be supported in their choice with high quality care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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