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Understanding shoulder dystocia and its complications

Although expectant parents in New Mexico will be excited about the upcoming birth and tend not to consider what can possibly go wrong leading to birth injuries, they are still a looming possibility. One particular injury that can happen to a newborn is called shoulder dystocia. Many might not even be aware as to what shoulder dystocia is or what its complications are. They might also be unaware that it might have been preventable with the proper care from the medical professionals overseeing the pregnancy and birth.

If the baby's shoulders become stuck during a vaginal birth, there is a chance that shoulder dystocia will occur. If it is a danger, then a Cesarean section might be advised. Shoulder dystocia is a risk if the following issues are in place: the baby is abnormally large; the mother is diabetic; it is a multiple birth; the mother is obese; the baby is overdue; the mother had a large baby previously or had a baby that had shoulder dystocia; it is an induced labor; the woman has an epidural for the pain; and if it is an operative vaginal birth meaning certain tools are used to facilitate it.

With shoulder dystocia, there might not be long-term damage, but it is possible that there will be complications. These include injury to the nerves in the hand, arm and shoulder leading to paralysis or shaking that will frequently dissipate within six months to one year. There might be a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain which can result in the baby suffering from brain damage or even dying. When there are risk factors that might make this issue a possibility, it is up to the medical professionals to take steps to try and prevent shoulder dystocia from occurring.

In some instances, there are birth injuries that happen without warning and there is no way to prevent them. In others, there is a mistake made prior to the birth or an error during delivery that can lead to the baby being injured. If that is the case, then the parents have the right to consider filing a legal case for compensation. Parents who have had a child who suffered a birth injury like shoulder dystocia need to understand their rights by speaking to a legal professional experienced in these types of cases.

Source: marchofdimes.org, "Shoulder dystocia," accessed on Dec. 23, 2015

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