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New York Breech Delivery Complications

When a baby is delivered through a vaginal delivery, the baby’s head is typically delivered first. Head first is the safest way to deliver a baby. However, the baby is not always positioned head first. If the baby’s feet or bottom are positioned to deliver first, the baby is in a breech position. Babies who present in a breech position are at risk to suffer serious breech delivery complications during delivery. For example, there is a greater likelihood that a breech baby will suffer trauma to the head during the delivery, or oxygen deprivation. On the other hand, if the doctor manages the breech presentation appropriately, the baby can be safely delivered. Sadly, far too often the doctor fails to handle a breech presentation in a competent manner, and as a result, the baby suffers in serious injury. If your baby suffered a serious injury during a breech delivery, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced New York birth injury lawyer who will review your medical records to determine if medical negligence contributed to your baby’s birth injuries.

Types of breech presentations

There are three different types of breech presentations.

  • Frank breech. Baby’s bottom is pointed toward the birth canal and the legs are sticking straight up in front of the baby’s body. The frank position is also referred to as the pike breech position.
  • Complete breech. In a complete breech position, like the frank breech position, the baby’s bottom is pointed toward the birth canal. However, with the complete breech position the baby legs not straight, but are folded at the knees.
  • Footling breech. With the footling breech position, one or both of the baby’s feet is pointed toward the birth canal. This means that the baby’s feet with delivery first.

Regardless of the type of breech position, the doctor must make a decision as to how to manage the breech presentation in order to minimize the possibility that the baby will be injured. One option is for the doctor to attempt to turn the baby by hand into the proper head first position. This is referred to as external cephalic version (ECV). Another option is to perform a breech delivery. However, there are risks of breech delivery complications that the doctor should carefully consider and share with the mother before proceeding. The third option is a c-section. While typically vaginally delivery is considered the safer options, when the baby is in a breech position, a c-section may be less risky than a vaginal delivery.

Risks associated with breech delivery

There are a number of potential breech delivery complications that your doctor should consider when determining how to handle a breech presentation.

  • Head entrapment: This complication involves the baby’s head getting stuck after the body has descended into the birth canal. If this happens, the delivery will be prolonged and the baby may be deprived of oxygen.
  • Umbilical cord: The umbilical cord is critical to supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby. During a breech delivery, the cord can become compressed, it can wrap around the baby’s neck or body, or there can be other cord issues that may result in oxygen not getting to the baby’s brain.
  • Organ damage. If the baby is handled roughly by the doctor during a breech birth, the baby’s delicate internal organs can be damaged. A doctor is expected to have the knowledge to skillfully manage a breech delivery. Mishandling of the baby during a breech delivery can lead to organ damage and other breech delivery complications.
  • Shoulder dystocia. When the baby’s shoulders get stuck during delivery, there can be nerve damage that leads to permanent paralysis in the baby’s arm.
Pursuing compensation for injury related to a breech delivery complication

Medical malpractice occurs when a obstetrician, or other healthcare professional fails to take reasonable care and as a result the patient suffers an injury and suffers a loss. In the case of a breech delivery, the doctor must take into considerations risk factors and decide the best course of action to deliver the baby safely. This may mean a breech delivery, a c-section, or maneuvering the baby into a head first presentation. Regardless of how the doctor chooses to proceed, the doctor must behave competently and not negligently. Otherwise, the doctor may be liable for medical negligence. As a skilled birth injury attorney in New York will explain, if your baby is injured because of medical negligence, you can demand payment for your baby’s medical expenses and other related losses.


Tonya’s baby was in a breech position. Her doctor decided to perform a breech vaginal delivery. During the delivery the baby’s head became entrapped. A maternal-fetal medicine specialist was called in. The delivery ended up taking 22 minutes. Because of oxygen deprivation, the baby was born with cerebral palsy, with severe developmental delays, and requires a gastrostomy tube and tracheotomy. With the help of a skilled birth injury attorney in New York, Tonya filed a medical malpractice claim against her obstetrician and maternal-fetal medicine specialist, arguing that an emergency c-section delivery should have been performed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you suspect that your baby was injured because your doctor mismanaged your breech delivery, do not hesitate to immediately contact an experienced New York birth injury attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are experienced in successfully representing clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries due to mistakes made by obstetricians, and other medical professionals. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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