Objective: To describe the method of birth of term breech singletons in Australia.
Design, setting and participants: A retrospective population‐based study of women who gave birth to term breech singletons in Australia between 1 January 1991 and 31 December 2005 using data from the National Perinatal Data Collection.
Main outcome measures: Caesarean section, vaginal breech birth.
Results: Method of birth changed for term breech singletons from 1991 (vaginal breech birth 23.1% versus caesarean (no labour 55.6%, labour 21.2%)) to 2005 (vaginal breech birth 3.7% versus caesarean (no labour 76.6%, labour 19.7%)). Overall, the population attributable risk percentage of term breech singletons for all caesarean sections declined from 10.2% in 1991 to 6.9% in 2005.
Conclusion: Planned caesarean section is the standard method of birth for term breech singletons in Australia. Active measures including external cephalic version should be supported to reduce the rate of caesarean section where clinically indicated. Retention of a skilled clinical workforce is essential in the provision of the latter and to assist the minority of women having vaginal breech births. Breech presentation is not a major factor in the overall rise in caesarean section experienced by Australia since 1996.