Shoulder dystocia can result from a difficult birth. Shoulder dystocia can occur when an infant's shoulder or shoulders have trouble getting through the mother's pelvis during delivery. During the stress of this urgent or emergent situation, doctors may inappropriately apply excessive pressure to the baby's head hoping to free the entrapped shoulder. Excessive pressure can lead to permanent and significant injuries, partial paralysis or even death for the baby. Doctors and OBGYNs (obstetricians) should be aware of certain risk factors and take certain actions in an effort to reduce the possibility of shoulder dystocia.
Shoulder Dystocia Risk Factors
- Gestational diabetes
- Obesity of the mother
- Abnormally shaped pelvis
- An extremely large baby
- Failure of the mother to progress through delivery (baby not moving into position, baby not in position, slow dilation, etc.)
Occasionally, the doctor delivering a baby will use instruments such as vacuums and/or forceps. The use of these tools can increase the risk of shoulder dystocia.
If excessive pressure is applied to the baby's head, erb's palsy (brachial plexus injury) may result. Additionally, the baby can suffer broken bones or can suffer from oxygen deprivation (hypoxia or anoxia).
If you believe your child suffered a shoulder dystocia during delivery, you are encouraged to contact Louisville medical malpractice attorney Brett Oppenheimer at Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC to discuss your concerns. Our number is (502) 242-8877.
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