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Frank Breech Baby: What You Need to Know About This Birth Position

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 24, 2023

    Frank Breech Baby: What You Need to Know About This Birth Position

    Recently, a viral Tiktok video showing a frank breech baby made the rounds on social media. It showed the newborn baby with her legs over her head, which is a very uncommon position for newborn babies.

    How exactly did this happen, and what does it mean to give birth to a baby in the frank breech position?

    What Is a Frank Breech Baby?

    The frank breech position is one of three types of breech, or bottom-first positions that babies can be in while in the womb1. Normally, babies are positioned in such a way that their heads are turned towards the birth canal, so they can be born head-first. Breech babies, on the other hand, are positioned differently.

    The first type is known as a complete breech, where the baby looks as if they’re in a bent-knee position, with their buttocks and feet closest to the birth canal.

    The second type is an incomplete breech position. This is similar to the complete breech, however, just one of the baby’s legs is bent.

    The third one, and the one we’ll be talking about, is the frank breech position. This is when the baby has both of their legs up over their head. This is also the most common type of breech position that babies have.

    One of the biggest concerns with breech babies is because of the baby’s position, they can get stuck during birth. This can potentially lead to serious injury or even death.

    How Can Doctors Know?

    Checking for the frank breech position is something that doctors do prior to the mother giving birth. This happens a few weeks before the mother’s due date, and doctors can physically check it by touching the mother’s belly. They then try to locate the baby’s head, back, and buttocks to give them an idea of the baby’s position2.

    If the baby’s position is normal, then the birth will continue as normal. However, if doctors feel that it might be a frank breech baby or another breech position, they will use the ultrasound to double-check.

    Doctors usually do a procedure known as an external cephalic version. This involves turning the baby externally in order to change the baby’s position. This procedure can cause the mother pain, so doctors will be asking the mother if they can tolerate the pain during the procedure. If it’s too painful, then doctors will stop the procedure3.

    However, not all breech babies can be turned. In these situations, doctors will instead focus on trying to deliver the baby as safely as possible.

    How Do Doctors Deliver in This Position?

    There are two main ways that doctors can deliver a frank breech baby4. One method would be to do a C-section. This is the most straightforward way of delivering a breech baby, and these days a C-section is a safe and common medical procedure.

    The other method is known as the vaginal breech delivery. This is fairly similar to a regular vaginal delivery. When compared to the C-section, this poses the least risk for mothers. However, since it’s still a vaginal delivery, there are increased risks for the baby compared to having a C-section.

    Are There Any Possible Complications For Frank Breech Babies?

    Giving birth to a frank breech baby can seem scary at first, especially because of how their legs are positioned. However, aside from the risks associated with a breech birth, there should be no other complications that parents need to be worried about.

    In time, frank breech babies will learn to move their legs as normal. There should not be any long-term effects from being in the breech position inside the womb.

    Learn more about Labor and Delivery here



    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 24, 2023

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