Shoulder Dystocia

Nationwide Cerebral Palsy Resource Network

Shoulder dystocia (literally meaning “slow or difficult labor or delivery”) refers to a situation in which one or both of a child’s shoulders become lodged under its mother’s pubic bone, making it extremely difficult for the child to progress through the birth canal. When this happens, a child’s head is usually protruding from the birth canal while the neck, shoulders and body still remain inside. As the mother’s contractions continue to intensify, they can put pressure on the baby’s head, neck and body, potentially cutting off his or her oxygen supply.

Sometimes doctors and hospitals are ill prepared to deal with these types of serious yet highly treatable birth complications. As a result, this can cause unnecessary injury to both a baby and its mother. If medical personnel failed to relieve shoulder dystocia and you or your baby suffered severe trauma, please call Stern Law, PLLC for free (800)462-5772 to discuss your legal options.

What are the causes and risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia?

In the United States, approximately 1% of all births involve a child diagnosed with shoulder dystocia. With this in mind, the following are a list of the most common causes and risk factors associated with the condition:

  • Delayed birth
  • A maternal history of shoulder dystocia
  • Maternal impaired glucose tolerance
  • Maternal diabetes, whether gestational or chronic
  • Post term pregnancy
  • Being of Hispanic descent
  • Having a male child
  • Excessive maternal weight gain
  • Genetics
  • Having delivered previous children with shoulder dystocia
  • Carrying multiple children
  • Maternal obesity or a family with a history of obesity
  • A mother and/or father of a larger size
  • Advanced maternal age

Shoulder dystocia and birth injuries

There are a number of complications that can arise should a child suffer from shoulder dystocia. These are as follows:

Medical malpractice and shoulder dystocia: What should my doctor have done differently?

Unfortunately, many birth injuries and complications stemming from shoulder dystocia are a direct result of an improperly and/or incompetently performed delivery. Obstetric specialists are trained as early as during medical school to perform a cesarean section and other intervention maneuvers designed to prevent shoulder dystocia injuries during labor.

Despite this early training, doctors continue to make serious and sometimes irreversible mistakes, leaving innocent children with lifelong and disabling birth injuries. If your child suffered irreparable harm due to negligent handling of shoulder dystocia, please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800)462-5772 for a free evaluation of your case.