Presentation refers to the anatomical part of the baby that is facing down the birth canal at birth.

In 2021, more than 9 in 10 (94%) women gave birth to babies in a vertex (head first) presentation. Mothers with one, 2 and 3 previous pregnancies (95% for all groups) were slightly more likely to have a vertex presentation than first-time mothers (93%) and mothers with 4 or more previous pregnancies (94%).

Figure 1 presents data on baby presentation for women who gave birth, by selected maternal characteristics, for 2021. Select the trend button to see how data has changed over an 11-year period (where available).

Figure 1: Proportion of women who gave birth, by presentation and selected topic

Bar chart shows presentation of birth by selected topics and a line graph shows topic trends between 2011 and 2021. 

Less than 1 in 20 (4.1%) mothers had a baby in the breech position (buttocks or feet first). A higher proportion of mothers aged 40 and over (6%) had babies in a breech presentation than did younger mothers (for example, 3.1% and 3.3%, respectively, for both mothers aged under 20 and those aged 20–24).

Only 0.6% of mothers who had a baby in the breech position had a non-instrumental vaginal birth, compared with 9.9% of mothers who had a caesarean section.

Women who had a multiple birth were more likely to have a baby in a breech presentation (24%, compared with 74% of mothers with a baby in the vertex presentation), based on the presentation of the first born baby.

For more information on presentation for babies see National Perinatal Data Collection annual update data table 2.34.