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Face and brow presentations in labor

Svena Julien, MD
France Galerneau, MD
Section Editor
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


The vast majority of fetuses are in cephalic presentation at term. About 5 percent of these fetuses are in a cephalic malpresentation, such as occiput posterior or transverse, face, or brow [1]. Diagnosis and management of face and brow presentations will be reviewed here. Other cephalic malpresentations are discussed separately. (See "Occiput posterior position" and "Occiput transverse position".)


Prevalence — Face and brow presentation are uncommon. The prevalence of face and brow presentation compared with other types of malpresentations is illustrated below [1-9]:

Occiput posterior – 1/19 deliveries

Breech – 1/33 deliveries

Face – 1/600 to 1/800 deliveries


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Apr 28, 2015.
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