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Shoulder Dystocia: Trapped During Birth

If you are a new or expecting mom, you may have heard of a condition called shoulder dystocia. The complication occurs during labor and delivery when one or both of the infant's shoulders are caught behind the mother's pelvic bone. This occurs as the infant descends into the birth canal.

Shoulder dystocia is more common among larger babies - especially those weighing greater than nine pounds. The condition is also prevalent in these situations:

  • When the mother previously delivered a baby with this condition.
  • When the due date is exceeded.
  • When the mother suffers from gestational diabetes.
  • When forceps or a vacuum are needed to assist with delivery.

While these risk factors may lead to shoulder dystocia, the condition can occur during any birth. If delivery is stalled after the baby's head appears, this may indicate shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia is dangerous; the circumstances can create additional birth injuries if the baby is not freed within a reasonable amount of time. In the worst cases, attempted removal of the infant by a medical professional can lead serious issues, such as Erb's Palsy or a brachial plexus injury.

What happens if the baby is trapped?

If the baby is trapped, he or she must be delivered as soon as possible. Otherwise, the infant risks further complications, including death. Most problems occur when the umbilical cord is compressed during repositioning. Compression of the umbilical cord can limit oxygen to the child, causing brain damage or death.

Get help for your baby

Was your baby traumatized during labor? If your infant was trapped in the birth canal and subsequently harmed during the delivery process, speak to a lawyer about shoulder dystocia. A strong legal advocate will listen to your story and share any relevant information with you. You may have recovery options.

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