What is Shoulder Dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that happens during the birthing process when the head passes, but the shoulder is caught. Force is then used via hands, forceps, or a vacuum to aid in the birth. When excessive force is used, the shoulder and brachial plexus can be injured and can cause a host of temporary and permanent medical conditions. If you suspect your child suffered a shoulder dystocia and don’t know what to do next, be advised that there is a limited amount of time in which to act. Please call our Philadelphia shoulder dystocia attorney as soon as possible for a confidential, no obligation consultation.
Shoulder Dystocia Risk Factors
There are many factors that can contribute to shoulder dystocia, but medical staff should take special care when dealing with:
- Women who give birth at 42 weeks or more
- Women whose infants are expected to weigh 9 pounds (4,082 grams) or more
- Women who are diabetics
- Women with multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Women who are obese
- Women whose labor is induced
- Women who have been given an epidural
Shoulder Dystocia Complications
When difficult births do occur and the baby sustains shoulder dystocia, symptoms can include:
- Difficulty moving their hand(s), arm(s), and shoulder(s)
- Constant shaking that lasts for prolonged periods of time
- Paralysis in one or more limbs
- Lack of oxygen to the brain causing brain damage, coma, or even death
What is Brachial Plexus Palsy?
When additional maneuvers used in birthing to enable the delivery of the fetal shoulders go beyond gentle guidance, it can cause an injury. This injury occurs in 0.2 to 3 percent of births and is called a brachial plexus injury, also commonly called Erb’s Palsy, or a specific form of cerebral palsy. This injury is one of the most serious fetal complications, and can occur in 2 to 16 percent of all shoulder dystocia injuries. While some of these cases can be resolved with the child healed, up to 30 percent of them result in permanent neurologic impairment and some even end in death.
Philadelphia Shoulder Dystocia Attorney
If you suspect your child may have suffered a shoulder dystocia and don’t know what to do next, be advised that there is a limited amount of time in which to act. Please call our Philadelphia shoulder dystocia attorney as soon as possible for a confidential, no obligation consultation.