The standard treatment technique used for whole-breast irradiation can result in undesirable dose distributions in the treatment site, leading to skin reaction/fibrosis and pulmonary and cardiac toxicities. Hence, the technique has evolved from conventional wedged technique (CWT) to segment intensity-modulated radiation therapy (SIMRT) and beamlet IMRT (IMRT). However, these newer techniques feature more highly modulated dose distributions that may be affected by respiration. The purpose of this work was to conduct a simple study of the clinical impact of respiratory motion on breast radiotherapy dose distributions for the three treatment planning techniques. The ultimate goal was to determine which patients would benefit most from the use of motion management. Eight patients with early-stage breast cancer underwent a free-breathing (FB) computed tomography (CT) simulation, with medial and lateral markers placed on the skin. Two additional CT scans were obtained at the end of inspiration (EI) and the end of expiration (EE). The FB-CT scan was used to develop treatment plans using each technique. Each plan was then applied to EI and EE-CT scans. Compared with the FB CT scan, the medial markers moved up to 1.8 cm in the anterior-superior direction at the end of inspiration (EI-scan), and on average 8 mm. The CWT and SIMRT techniques were not "sensitive" to respiratory motion, because the % clinical target volume (CTV) receiving 95% of the prescription dose (V(95%)) remained constant for both techniques. For patients that had large respiratory motion indicated by marker movement >0.6 cm, differences in coverage of the CTV at the V100% between FB and EI for beamlet IMRT plans were on the order of >10% and up to 18%. A linear model was developed to relate the dosimetric coverage difference introduced by respiration with the motion information. With this model, the dosimetric coverage difference introduced by respiratory motion could be evaluated during patient CT simulation. An appropriate treatment method can be chosen after the simulation.