Brain Damages Caused By Vaginal Deliveries Of Breech Babies

Brain damages caused by vaginal deliveries of breech babies

Most babies are born in the head-first position. However, approximately 3 to 4 percent of babies are born in the bottom-first (breech) position, which has usually been looked upon as increasing the possibility of medical complications. As a consequence, use of a cesarean (C-section) is the delivery method that is now preferred for breech births.

Some recent studies have questioned the above preference, including one 2006 study reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which concluded that there was no “significant risk” with vaginal compared to cesarean delivery of babies in a breech position. On the other hand, some doctors have pointed out that a C-section, while not trivial (it may impose surgical difficulties and problems in the baby’s breathing), is extremely safe and greatly reduces risks. They state that the risks associated with a vaginal breech delivery may be small, but that the outcomes may be catastrophic.

So, in light of this controversy, the question has to be asked, “Is a vaginal delivery of a breech baby ever justified?”

A personal story, with legal consequences

Behind the medical facts is the following personal story. In 2011, a Washington woman, who had scheduled a C-section at a local hospital, was conducting an Internet search to find out more information concerning breech births and discovered the website for Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, which talked about its expertise in breech vaginal births. She cancelled her C-section and checked into OHSU in September of that year.

The delivery of her son did not go smoothly. According to the $25.6 million malpractice lawsuit that she filed in 2013, her son suffered brain damages that were “catastrophic, permanent and irreversible.”

The mother’s attorney, as reported in The Oregonian, has called the birthing practice “unreasonably dangerous” and against the accepted medical convention. He has stated that the doctors in question persisted in doing a vaginal breech birth, even in the face of complications that arose during the procedure, including a heart rate that was abnormal.

The baby suffered seizures right after being born and was soon diagnosed with brain injuries and cerebral palsy as the result of his brain being deprived of oxygen. The attorney has raised the following questions: “At what point does the public have the right to trust what a doctor is saying? When do you get to believe them?”


If you, or a loved one, are planning for the birth of a child and you know that the baby is going to be born in a breech position, you should thoroughly investigate whether a vaginal or C-section birth is procedure you want to use. If the child is born with serious brain damage or other injuries, you should immediately contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to investigate the facts of your situation and determine if negligence is involved and, if so, determine the best way to proceed to secure for you the compensation you deserve.