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Shoulder dystocia, a rare birth injury

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2020 | Birth Injuries, Medical Malpractice

Between 0.2% and 0.3% of pregnancies in Massachusetts and across the U.S. result in a birth injury called shoulder dystocia. Perhaps your baby suffered from this because of medical negligence; in that case, you may have good grounds for a malpractice claim. A lawyer may help you build up the case with input from third-party investigators and medical experts. For your part, you should know what the condition involves.

Anyone at risk for shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby gets one or both shoulders stuck in the mother’s pelvis during delivery. It can technically happen in any pregnancy, but there are certain factors that raise the risk for it. They include:

  • An unusually large baby, known as macrosomia
  • A multiple birth of twins, triplets etc.
  • Diabetes in the mother
  • Excessive weight gain during the pregnancy

Consequences of shoulder dystocia

In most cases, the baby is born safe and sound. Injuries may arise, though, with both the baby and the mother. Babies may fracture their arm or collarbone or damage the nerves in their brachial plexus, a network of nerves that stretches from the spinal cord to the arm and controls movement and sensation in the shoulder, arm and hand. Mothers may bleed heavily.

A hard condition to predict

Doctors cannot necessarily predict shoulder dystocia, but if they see one or more of the risk factors mentioned above, they may recommend a C-section just in case. There are maneuvers that medical staff can perform during delivery, too, to treat the condition.

Legal representation for malpractice victims

Shoulder dystocia can lead to the baby suffering from oxygen deprivation and even dying. Perhaps you narrowly missed experiencing such a tragedy yourself. You might have a case under medical malpractice law, so it may be wise to consult with a lawyer.