What is Shoulder Dystocia?

If you have a child with special needs, you have likely been inundated with medical terminology that can be nearly impossible to understand. While conditions like Cerebral Palsy can have a wide assortment of related symptoms and diagnoses, there are also additional terms that can tell a very important story regarding your child’s birth injury. One of those terms is shoulder dystocia, a diagnosis that is relatively straightforward but can involve very critical facts that must be looked into.

Shoulder dystocia is a diagnosis given to describe when a child’s shoulder (or both shoulders) become lodged against or under the mother’s pubic bone. This complication can, in turn, create problems in the birthing process. Any time in which a child’s delivery is halted is problematic due to the complications that can take place. A timely delivery can mean all the difference between a healthy baby and a child living with a lifetime of challenges.

Shoulder dystocia’s role in a complicated delivery revolves around the state in which the child is often in at the time his or her shoulder becomes lodged. Oftentimes, when shoulder dystocia occurs, a child’s head is outside the birth canal while the shoulders and neck remain inside with the body. Ongoing contractions can, in turn, put significant pressure on the head, neck and body, as well as the umbilical cord, resulting in a significant reduction in the oxygen supply.

Asphyxia is a common cause of Cerebral Palsy and involves the deprivation of oxygen to the brain. As noted, shoulder dystocia can lead to your child’s inability to access much needed oxygen, resulting in a brain injury tied to a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. With 1% of all births involving shoulder dystocia, there needs to be a major focus on the part of medical professionals to resolve this complication and deliver the child in a timely manner.

Shoulder dystocia is just one of a number of ways in which a physical birth complication can lead to non-visible harm to a child. If your child with Cerebral Palsy experienced a delayed delivery, perhaps including shoulder dystocia or another form of restriction that prevented a reasonable birth process, it is important to have your medical records reviewed by a team of medical and legal professionals. When a child’s CP is determined to have been preventable, children can be eligible for Lifetime Benefits that cover the cost of therapy, education, adaptive equipment, assistive technology, housing, medical treatment and more for decades to come.

If you have questions about shoulder dystocia or how a complicated delivery may be the cause of your child’s Cerebral Palsy, call our offices at (800) 462-5772 today!

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