"A considerable number of breech presentations are not detected before labor, despite careful antenatal surveillance," Nordtveit said. "To avoid undiagnosed breech deliveries, information about the mother's and the father's own presentation at birth will be valuable in the evaluation of fetal presentation in the third trimester."
Janet Hardy, an assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, agrees that knowing the parents' history of breech delivery may help predict the risk of their child having a breech presentation.
"Little is known about risk factors for breech presentation, and the idea that birth position might be inherited from either or both parents is novel," said Hardy, who authored an accompanying editorial in the journal.
"If these results hold true, further research may help us understand what trait is being passed from parent to child," she added. "Assessing the presence or absence of all potential risk factors for breech presentation, including the parents' own birth positions, may alert the clinician and patient to prepare for a possible breech delivery."
For more on breech births, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.
SOURCES: Tone Nordtveit, research fellow, University of Bergen, Norway; Janet Hardy, Ph.D., assistant professor, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester; March 28, 2008, British Medical Journal, online
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