Overview of shoulder dystocia

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2020 | Birth Injuries |

Sometimes, during a difficult labor, a baby may have one or both shoulders stuck in the mother’s pelvis. Ohio residents should know that this condition is known as shoulder dystocia. In most cases, the baby is born safely, but in other cases, it may cause injury to both the baby and mother.

For instance, the baby may suffer a fractured collarbone and arm and may incur damage to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that control movement and feeling in the shoulder and upper arm. Nerve damage can result in weakness or paralysis in the arm. Also, the baby may be deprived of oxygen during labor and, in severe cases, suffer brain damage or even die. The mother may bleed heavily and tear her perineum.

Doctors can check for several factors that increase the risk for shoulder dystocia. The factors include macrosomia, where the baby weighs more than 4,000 grams at birth; a multiple birth; and a mother who had shoulder dystocia in a previous pregnancy or who has diabetes. Having labor-inducing medicines and using birth-assisting tools also raise the risk.

Doctors may recommend a C-section when the risk for shoulder dystocia is present. There are several maneuvers they can make during labor to put the mother and the baby in a better position.

Some birth injuries are caused by doctors’ negligence before, during and/or after delivery, and these can often become the basis of a personal injury claim. Parents who believe they are entitled to compensation for their baby’s injuries may speak with a lawyer about the process of filing a malpractice claim. It can be complicated, but the lawyer may handle each step with the help of investigators and other third parties. Parents may be reimbursed for medical bills, emotional suffering and more.


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