Preferred way of delivery of the impacted fetal head in cesarean sections during second stage of labor

Moran Gil, Henry H. Chill*, Liron Kogan, Shay Porat, Lorinne Levitt, Elior Eliasi, Uri Dior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: To compare maternal and neonatal outcomes between the ‘head first’ and ‘legs first’ delivery methods during a second stage cesarean section. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study between January 2009 and May 2015 at a large public university tertiary referral center. Included were all women who underwent cesarean delivery with a fully dilated cervix and a fetal head at the level of the ischial spines or below. The study population was divided into two groups according to way of fetal delivery: The ‘legs first’ (reverse breech) method and the ‘head first’ method. Demographics and maternal and fetal outcomes were retrieved for both groups. Results: During the study period 447 women underwent a cesarean section while their cervix was fully dilated. Of them, 321 met the inclusion criteria: One hundred and twenty-one (38%) were delivered using the ‘legs first’ method and 200 (62%) were delivered using the ‘head first’ method. Indication for surgery and fetal head station was similar for both groups. While no difference in overall intraoperative uterine incision extension rate was observed, a higher rate of uterine incision extension was demonstrated in the ‘head first’ group in cases in which the second stage was longer than 180 min (33 vs 8 cases, P = 0.02). No differences in maternal postoperative complication rates and neonatal outcomes were observed. Conclusion: Fetal extraction via the ‘legs first’ method during prolonged second stage of labor may lower maternal morbidity. Method of delivery does not seem to have an effect on neonatal outcomes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2386-2393
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • cesarean section
  • labor management
  • operative vaginal delivery


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