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Breech delivery "may be inherited"

A baby is twice as likely to be born in the breech position if either or both parents were also born bottom-first, a study has found.

The results show that the birth position may be hereditary, researchers from a Norwegian university said.

The vast majority of babies are born head first, with fewer than one in 20 the opposite way round, the University of Bergen study found.

Breech deliveries carry significantly greater risks for babies, who are more likely to die or suffer from health problems, the British Medical Journal said as it published the study.

Researchers looked at data covering all the births in Norway between 1967 and 2004.

They studied the information available on men and women and their first born children - a total of 387,555 parent and child units.

Men and women who had been delivered full-term in the breech position had more than twice the risk of having a breech delivery in their own first pregnancies, they found.

The risk was found to be equally strong for male and female parents and results were emphasised when researchers studied the 35,056 men who had children with two different women.

British Medical Journal

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