Shoulder Dystocia​

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head is delivered through the vagina, but the shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s body. This creates risks for both mother and baby. This injury is among the most preventable. There are written step-by-step methodology for doctors to use. Negligent doctors often claim they could not prevent shoulder dystocia injuries. The doctor claims obstetric emergency.  It could be an emergency, but these injuries are foreseeable and preventable. Doctors should be aware if a mother carries one or more risk factors. In fact part of their training demands obstetricians rehearsing the management of shoulder dystocia events, and be prepared to respond when they occur.

Risk Factors with Shoulder Dystocia

There are a few risk factors that can lead to this condition. These risks include:

  • Fetal macrosomia (baby larger than 8.8 pounds)

  • Diabetes/gestational diabetes

  • Previous births complicated by shoulder dystocia

  • Maternal obesity

  • Post-term pregnancy (a pregnancy that lasts longer than 42 weeks)

  • Prolonged second stage of labor

  • Operative vaginal delivery (use of forceps or vacuum)

Shoulder Dystocia Causes

Usually, shoulder dystocia is a preventable complication during childbirth. While monitoring the mother and detecting fetal distress indicators, physicians can schedule an emergency C-section prior to any injuries occuring. One way is to simply be aware of infants with a higher birth weight and is diagnosed with cephalopelvic disorder (CPD) should not be born vaginally. A medical professional should weigh each situation carefully and provide the best course of action for each delivery.


There are a few symptoms parents should notice after birth. Shoulder dystocia is first noticed when the baby’s shoulders are still stuck in the mother’s pelvic area after the head has already came out. When attempting to pull the infant out completely, physicians may cause injuries such as brachial plexus palsy, broken bones, and facial injuries. Depending on if an injury occurs after shoulder dystocia, the symptoms may include:

  • Nerve damage and pain in the injured area
  • A claw-like hand appearance
  • Light paralysis of the affected limb

Mothers are also at risk of medical complications if shoulder dystocia occurs, such as hemorrhaging, uterine rupture, and lacerations.

Oxytocin Use

The body naturally produces the hormone oxytocin to stimulate contractions. Pitocin and Syntocinon are brand name medications that are forms of oxytocin. They can be given through an IV at low doses to stimulate contractions.

However, it has produced disastrous results. There is a 2.5 greater risk of shoulder dystocia with oxytocin use. It is also harder to monitor the baby after the administration of oxytocin.

Costs Associated with Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousands to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.

For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.

It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track records of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.

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