[To rescue a vanishing obstetric skill--vaginal breech delivery].

Marek Glezerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


In 2000, a large randomized controlled trial was published (Term Breech Trial - TBT). The authors concluded that cesarean section (CS) was safer for newborns in breech presentation than vaginal breech delivery (VBD). This conclusion was endorsed by major professional institutions, was adopted almost immediately by the medical community and led to a wholesale abandonment of planned VBD in the western world, including Israel. In past years, serious criticism has been voiced related to the methodology applied in the TBT and numerous studies have contradicted the recommendations. Subsequently, the professional institutions published revised guidelines with the recommendation that pregnant women with breech presentation should, under certain circumstances, be given the choice between CS and VBD. Yet, in most delivery wards, following a decade of abandonment of VBD, the expertise for this technique had almost vanished. An unbearable situation had materialized: CS increases maternal mortality and morbidity when compared to vaginal delivery but most obstetricians are no longer capable of offering women the choice of VBD. Recently, and with the support of the Israel Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Feto-Maternal Medicine, representatives of 17 obstetrical departments convened and decided on urgent steps to revive VBD, including updating the relevant clinical guidelines and informed consent forms and, most importantly, to issue a call to train obstetricians in VBD. In March 2010, a workshop dedicated to breech delivery was conducted at the Beilinson Hospital, with the representatives of most Israeli hospitals and specialists from abroad. Subsequently, and at the same hospital, a week-long program for VBD was conducted at which approximately 30 obstetricians received hands-on training. Time will show if "turning back the tide" will help to progress into a safer future for women with breech presentation and to annually avoid between 1000 and 2000 needless cesarean sections in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-98, 208, 207
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


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