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We compared bone outcomes in children with breech and cephalic presentation at delivery. Neonatal whole-body bone mineral content (BMC) and area were lower in children with breech presentation. At 4 years, no differences in whole-body or spine measures were found, but hip BMC and area were lower after breech presentation. INTRODUCTION: Breech presentation is associated with altered joint shape and hip dysplasias, but effects on bone mineral content (BMC), area (BA) and density (BMD) are unknown. METHODS: In the prospective Southampton Women's Survey mother-offspring cohort, whole-body bone outcomes were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 1430 offspring, as neonates (mean age 6 days, n = 965, 39 with a breech presentation at birth) and/or at age 4.1 years (n = 999, 39 breech). Hip and spine bone outcomes were also measured at age 4 years. RESULTS: Neonates with breech presentation had 4.2 g lower whole-body BMC (95% CI -7.4 to - 0.9 g, P = 0.012) and 5.9 cm2 lower BA (- 10.8 to - 1.0 cm2, P = 0.019), but BMD was similar between groups (mean difference - 0.007, - 0.016 to 0.002 g/cm2, P = 0.146) adjusting for sex, maternal smoking, gestational diabetes, mode of delivery, social class, parity, ethnicity, age at scan, birthweight, gestational age and crown-heel length. There were no associations between breech presentation and whole-body outcomes at age 4 years, but, in similarly adjusted models, regional DXA (not available in infants) showed that breech presentation was associated with lower hip BMC (- 0.51, - 0.98 to - 0.04 g, P = 0.034) and BA (- 0.67, - 1.28 to - 0.07 cm2, P = 0.03) but not with BMD (- 0.009, - 0.029 to 0.012 g, P = 0.408), or spine outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that breech presentation is associated with lower neonatal whole-body BMC and BA, which may relate to altered prenatal loading in babies occupying a breech position; these differences did not persist into later childhood. Modest differences in 4-year hip BMC and BA require further investigation.

Original publication




Journal article


Osteoporos int

Publication Date





2275 - 2281


Bone mass, Epidemiology, Foetal growth, Osteoporosis, Pregnancy, Absorptiometry, Photon, Adult, Bone Density, Breech Presentation, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Health Surveys, Hip Joint, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Osteoporosis, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies