Prognosis for deliveries in face presentation: a case–control study

  • Emmanuelle ArsèneEmail author
  • C. Langlois
  • E. Clouqueur
  • P. Deruelle
  • D. Subtil
Maternal-Fetal Medicine



To estimate the maternal and fetal prognosis for attempted vaginal deliveries of fetuses in face compared with vertex presentations. To evaluate the factors associated with a cesarean during labor for fetuses in face presentation.


This case–control study collected all the cases of face presentation in a university hospital level-3 maternity ward between 22 and 42 weeks of gestation over a 16-year period. For each case, we selected three control cases with vertex presentations delivered the same day. Cesareans before labor were excluded.


We compared 60 attempted vaginal deliveries of fetuses in face presentation with 174 of fetuses in vertex presentation. The cesarean rate during labor was more than three times higher for the face presentations (31.7 vs 9.2%, P < 0.0001). Arterial pH values and Apgar scores were similar in both sets of newborns. After logistic regression, the factors associated with a cesarean during labor were nulliparity and early diagnosis of the presentation (i.e., before 5 cm dilatation). The initial position (mentum-anterior vs. transverse or posterior) was not significantly associated with the mode of delivery.


In face presentations, attempted vaginal delivery triples the cesarean risk. Nonetheless, more than two-thirds of these women give birth vaginally without any impairment of neonatal condition.


Face presentation Deflexed presentation Prognosis Cesarean 


Author contributions

EA: project development, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript writing. CL: data analysis. EC: manuscript editing. PD: manuscript editing. DS: project development, data analysis, and manuscript writing/editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pôle Femme Mère Enfant, Centre Hospitalier de CalaisCalaisFrance
  2. 2.Unité de Biostatistiques, MRRC, CHRU LilleLille cedexFrance
  3. 3.Pôle Femme Mère Nouveau-né, Clinique d’Obstétrique, Hôpital Jeanne de FlandreUniversité Nord de FranceLille cedexFrance
  4. 4.EA 4489, Environnement périnatal et croissancePRES Université Lille Nord de FranceLilleFrance
  5. 5.EA 2694PRES Université Lille Nord de FranceLilleFrance

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