In both high and low resource countries, misleading research and ongoing assumptions about the safety of cesarean section have attempted to relegate the practice of vaginal breech birth to an ancient art, useful only for the historical archives. In spite of the fact that new research reports that vaginal breech birth is NOT associated with higher risk of death or neuro development in children of 2 years of age, obstetric units in North America have only feebly embraced this reality and done little to act on it.
In the absence of choice in obstetric units, and as obstetricians have become more deskilled at normal vaginal breech birth, midwives' clients, along with their midwives, have been at the helm of the movement to return vaginal breech birth to North America. This has involved the rethinking of the mechanisms of vaginal breech birth, the search for a way to demonstrate their success through research, and a way to revive the practice. This presentation will cover the history, politics, and clinical epidemiology of vaginal breech birth. Videos and mannequins will be used to demonstrate new maneuvers and how to overcome complicated cases. There will be time for hands-on practice. Issues around VBAC and home birth breech, MRIs, IUGR babies, macrosomia, postdates, nuchal cord concerns, the incomplete and footling breech, electronic fetal monitoring, and symphysiotomy will be covered. The European, Australian, and Canadian practice techniques and how midwives and physicians might work together to bring this issue back will be the theme throughout the presentation.