Should Your New York Doctor Have Predicted Your Child’s Shoulder Dystocia?

Many medical experts agree that shoulder dystocia is hard to predict and hard to prevent. However, that does not relieve obstetricians from the responsibility of taking reasonable steps to anticipate and treat shoulder dystocia. The steps that are taken to prevent a child's shoulders from getting stuck in the birth canal after his or her head is delivered may prevent significant medical problems for both the child and the mother after delivery.

Shoulder Dystocia Risk Factors

Obstetricians should be alert to the potential for shoulder dystocia if any of the following risks are present*:
  • The baby's estimated weight is significantly above average.
  • The mother has diabetes.
  • The mother is obese.
  • The mother is past her due date at the time of delivery.
  • The mother has experienced shoulder dystocia during a previous pregnancy.
  • The mother is carrying more than one child.

While the above factors may indicate the risk of shoulder dystocia, it is important to remember that shoulder dystocia can occur even if none of these risk factors are present.

How Shoulder Dystocia May be Treated During Delivery

Since shoulder dystocia can happen during any delivery, it is important for those delivering the child to understand what to do when shoulder dystocia presents during delivery. According to the March of Dimes, the mother or child may be able to be maneuvered into a better position, an episiotomy may be required, or an emergency C-section may be warranted.

When to Call a New York Birth Injury Lawyer

If your child has suffered oxygen deprivation, nerve damage, or other complications following shoulder dystocia during birth, then your child may be entitled to damages. Please contact an experienced New York birth injury attorney at 1-800-PAGAN-911 to learn more about your child's legal rights and potential recovery.

*Source: March of Dimes, Pregnancy Complications, Shoulder Dystocia