What Is Shoulder Dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency that can result in a birth injury to the baby and injury to the mother. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery, and is frequently diagnosed when the baby’s head delivers but the shoulders do not follow. If this occurs, traction on the baby’s head can cause severe nerve injury. Shoulder dystocia must be treated appropriately and rapidly to avoid injury to the baby and the mother. There are several risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia, some of which are preventable or manageable when properly identified and addressed prior to childbirth.
Managing Shoulder Dystocia
There are some instances of shoulder dystocia that cannot be anticipated; however, injury to the infant can still be prevented if the appropriate steps are taken once the situation arises. Shoulder dystocia and improper medical management of shoulder dystocia may cause damage to the nerves connecting the neck and arm, resulting in brachial plexus injuries like Erb’s palsy. Medical providers should not apply excessive traction or lateral traction to the baby’s head because the traction may stretch or tear the brachial plexus nerves. There are several maneuvers that medical providers may use to release the baby’s impacted shoulder:
- Suprapubic pressure
- McRoberts maneuver
- Woods corkscrew
- Zavanelli maneuver
Need Legal Assistance for Your Baby’s Injury?
Brown Trial Firm has a strong legal team. If your child has suffered an injury due to medical negligence, we have board-certified specialists in personal injury trial law who can help you understand your legal rights and options. You may be entitled to recover significant compensation for the care your child will need over his or her lifetime. Do not hesitate to contact birth injury attorney Laura Brown for a free, comprehensive consultation by calling +1 (866) 393-2611 or submitting an online contact form.
Maternal Risk Factors for Serious Injuries
At Brown Trial Firm, we know how large hospitals and their insurance companies operate. They will try any aggressive or underhanded tactic to reduce your settlement or deny it altogether, even if your child’s well-being is at stake. Give yourself a fighting chance by consulting with one of our exceptional legal associates today. We will fight hard to ensure you get the settlement you and your child are entitled to. Call us at +1 (855) 925-1041.
- Gestational Diabetes
- Maternal obesity
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Macrosomia (a baby weighing more than 4000 grams or approximately 9 lbs.)
- Previous large baby
- Previous shoulder dystocia
- Post term pregnancy
- Protracted/prolonged labor
- Short stature/small pelvis
- Forceps/Vacuum assisted vaginal delivery
Maternal risk factors for shoulder dystocia can often be identified during a woman’s pregnancy.
Short maternal stature, gestational diabetes, abnormal pelvic anatomy, and a history of birth complications are all maternal risk factors that can increase the risk of should dystocia during delivery.
Post-date delivery can also increase the risk of shoulder dystocia. A baby weighing more than 8.13 ounces at birth has a greater risk of suffering shoulder dystocia during birth than a child weighing less.
These maternal factors can be identified by a medical professional prior to delivery. Prompt attention to these conditions or proper handling of the birth process given these risks can greatly reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia.
There are also events that can occur during the child birth process that can greatly increase the risk of shoulder dystocia. Improper or forceful forceps or vacuum delivery is one of the leading causes of shoulder dystocia during child birth. In some cases the procedure is unnecessary; in others it is performed improperly.
When a shoulder dystocia occurs during the delivery, there are medical techniques to manage the labor.
Shoulder dystocia can lead to maternal and newborn injuries. A baby who has suffered shoulder dystocia may suffer temporary or long term nerve damage that affects the upper extremities (brachial plexus palsy), fractures, anoxia, and more.
Birth Injury Case Results
Oxygen Deprivation During Labor & Delivery Resulting in Brain Damage & Cerebral Palsy
A contingent (%) fee charged on the successful recovery resulted in a fee of $1,441,584 and $33,666.12 in litigation expenses which were reimbursed by the client out of the gross settlement amount.
Oxygen Deprivation During Labor & Delivery Resulting in Brain Injury & Cerebral Palsy
A contingent (%) fee charged on the successful recovery resulted in a fee of $1,300,000 and $81,511.14 in litigation expenses which were reimbursed by the client out of the gross settlement amount.
Note: If any of the cases listed here had been unsuccessful, the law firm would have paid all of the expenses for the case without being reimbursed by the client and would have received $0 dollars in attorney’s fees.