Robert A. Solomon, P.C.
Two Offices Serving New York & New Jersey

Understanding shoulder dystocia

WE tend to have very specific ideas when we think about what it will be like bringing a child into this world. Becoming pregnant can be a very joyful time. As it nears the baby's due date, the mother reminds herself of what her birth plan is with the hope that it will provide her with a healthy newborn. While it is possible for everything to go smooth and to plan, mistakes and errors are possible, resulting in a newborn suffering birth injuries.

One type of birth injury a baby could suffer is known as shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the baby's head is too large to be delivered through the vagina, causing the baby's shoulders to get stuck inside the mother's body. Such a situation creates risks for both the baby and the mother.

While shoulder dystocia can be hard to predict or prevent, there are some risk factors that could indicate that it is a possible risk. Those at risk for shoulder dystocia include those with a large baby, the mother has diabetes, is pregnant with multiples, is obese, gives birth after baby's due date, has had large babies or shoulder dystocia in the past, has an induced labor, gets an epidural or has an operative vaginal birth.

Shoulder dystocia could cause complication and birth injuries to the baby. This includes injury to the nerves of the shoulder, arms and hand and the lack of oxygen to the brain. For the mother, the injuries she could suffer include heavy bleeding and tearing of the uterus.

If a medical professional fails to note these risks or notes this risk is likely once labor has begun, he or she could be held liable for the birth injuries that result. Furthermore, if the medical provider fails to recommend a Cesarean section when there is a risk for shoulder dystocia, this could also give rise for a medical malpractice suit. Thus, it is important to understand these situations and what rights you have after giving birth to a baby that has suffered birth injuries.

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