Indexed on: 28 May '05Published on: 28 May '05Published in: Birth
Maternal posture is commonly recommended to promote cephalic version of breech presentation during pregnancy, but the few studies conducted to examine the efficacy of this obstetric practice are inconclusive. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the research evidence base for postural management of breech presentation.This review critically examined the research on maternal posture for breech presentation using guidelines from the third United States Preventive Services Task Force. Database searches were conducted of Ovid Medline, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PubMed, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, using the keywords "pregnancy," "maternal posture," "maternal position," "postural management," "breech," "presentation." Hand searches were conducted on reference citations from databases, and all research articles, commentaries, and reports of clinical cases were included.Conceptual and methodological issues in the individual studies posed threats to internal validity in each study. Interpretation of the nonsignificant results in the research reports is debatable because the randomized controlled trials were underpowered, and flaws in each study challenged validity of the results. Meta-analysis of previous findings may be inappropriate.Further research based on explicit theory and improved methods, including sufficient sample size, is needed to determine whether maternal posture promotes cephalic version for pregnant women with breech presentation.