Maryland birth injury: What is shoulder dystocia?

Regardless of where one lives — whether in Maryland or elsewhere — there are various birth injuries that may be experienced during the process of labor and delivery. One such potential injury that may be suffered is called shoulder dystocia. Sadly, this type of injury can result in a child experiencing permanent damages, such as pain and paralysis — among others. A mother’s health can also be negatively affected when shoulder dystocia occurs.

What exactly is shoulder dystocia? Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulders become lodged inside his or her mother’s pelvis during a vaginal delivery. It is a complication that medical providers cannot generally prevent or predict. However, by taking swift and appropriate actions when this type of event does occur, most major complications can be avoided.

Shoulder dystocia may occur in any labor and delivery situation. However, the medical community has identified several factors that may put one at higher risk of having a baby experience shoulder dystocia. These include:

  • If the mother has diabetes
  • If labor is induced
  • If the baby is large
  • If the baby is overdue
  • If the mother is carrying multiples

Complications associated with shoulder dystocia, for the infant, include injury to nerves and a lack of adequate oxygen to the brain. For the mother, complications of this injury might include significant tearing of the female anatomy and/or the rectum and bleeding. The only way to avoid major complications is for medical staff to quickly identify what is happening and take the appropriate measures.

While shoulder dystocia may not occur on a frequent basis, when it does it can lead to severe or even fatal outcomes — for the mother and/or child. Maryland residents who have experienced injury or loss due to this type of birth injury may have legal recourse. Civil claims may filed against the medical staff and the facility of treatment deemed responsible for one’s losses in an attempt to seek compensation.

Source: Findlaw, “Birth Injury: Shoulder Dystocia“, Accessed on Sept. 18, 2016

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