What to know about shoulder dystocia

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Expecting mothers in Tennessee should know what to do if there is shoulder dystocia during labor. This is a birth injury that occurs when a baby’s shoulders become stuck while passing through the mother’s pelvis during the labor process. It can happen with one or both of the shoulders.

The good news is that most of the time, babies with shoulder dystocia are born without any complications. Unfortunately, there are still those who do suffer long-term adverse effects from the injury, which include problems with both the mother and the baby. This sometimes warrants a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In many of these cases, however, there’s little to nothing that a health care provider can do to stop shoulder dystocia from happening. It’s a condition that’s difficult to predict, and all doctors can do is respond with due care.

On the other hand, anyone who feels their doctor has acted irresponsibly should take the appropriate legal steps. If you’re considering filing a medical negligence lawsuit, it’s helpful to learn past rulings with these types of birth injuries.

In the event that shoulder dystocia does occur, the doctor will do their best to reposition the baby and mother’s body to make it as easy as possible for the baby to get out. Sometimes, a provider will recommend that a C-section should be done, in which case mothers may opt to wait until 39 weeks into the pregnancy. This ensures that the baby is fully developed before being born.

Some mothers are at greater risk than others

This birth injury is also sometimes known as birth trauma. It’s a condition that any woman who has a child might experience, but some women are more susceptible to it than others. Some of the most common risk factors for shoulder dystocia include:

  • Macrosomia
  • Preexisting or gestational diabetes
  • Birth trauma with a past pregnancy
  • Twins, triplets, etc.
  • Obesity

Macrosomia is the medical name for when a baby is born at over 4,000 grams – 8 pounds and 13 ounces. It’s not hard to imagine why a child of that size would be more likely to become stuck in the birthing process.