The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of mortality and morbidity of the very-low-birthweight infant (< 1,500 g) in breech presentation based on mode of delivery and birthweight. A retrospective chart review of 1,009 infants who were in breech presentation at the time of delivery between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1995 at the First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Semmelweis Medical School in Budapest, Hungary. Data collected included birthweight, mode of delivery, pregnancy complications and neonatal mortality and morbidity. Comparison of groups was made based on mode of delivery, and data were analyzed using Fisher's exact test and chi-square analysis. For those infants weighing less than 1,500 g at birth, vaginal delivery was associated with higher mortality than for those delivered abdominally (73.8% vs. 37.7%, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in survival for those infants weighing 1,500 g or more. Regarding morbidity, in those infants weighing less than 1,500 g, vaginal delivery was associated with a higher incidence of 1 min Apgar below 4 (21.7% vs. 5.2%, P < 0.001), a higher incidence of 5-min Apgar scores below 4 (11.6% vs. 1.2%, P < 0.001), a higher incidence of grade III or grade IV IVH (18.8% vs. 3.5%, P < 0.001) and a higher incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (5.8% vs. 0.6%, P < 0.05). There is an increased incidence of mortality and morbidity for the VLBW breech infant delivered vaginally. Cesarean delivery may improve outcome for these infants.