Birth Injuries

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a medical condition that mother might see and experience without understanding the medical description. It occurs when the baby becomes trapped behind the mother’s pelvis [1]. Due to the increased possibility of the umbilical cord being compressed, shoulder dystocia is a delivery room emergency and should be treated strictly as an emergency. Doctors must be trained and taught not to panic and to perform the maneuvers and techniques that will help free the baby. Additionally, due to the extent of the emergency, doctors and nurses must have quick and efficient communication amongst each other. Pressure on the child’s head is not needed during the maneuvers.

Although doctors cannot predict where shoulder dystocia will occur during the delivery, doctors observe certain factors which increase the risk of a shoulder dystocia issue presenting itself during the birthing process. As previously mentioned, when shoulder dystocia occurs, not only can the baby suffer an arm, hand, and shoulder (clavicle) injury, but injury stemming from fetal hypoxia or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can also present itself.

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health Shoulder dystocia: an Evidence-Based approach

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