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Review: What is shoulder dystocia?

This New Mexico legal blog has reviewed various types of birth injuries. Sometimes, during a difficult childbirth, the baby may be deprived oxygen and thus suffer severe brain damage or, in some cases, cerebral palsy. In other cases, the child's limbs or nerves can be affected, making it hard for her to move, at least for a time. Unfortunately, these sorts of injuries can be permanent if not addressed properly.

Shoulder dystocia is not a birth injury in of itself. Rather, it is a medical condition that tends to cause birth injuries. Specifically, in a difficult delivery shoulder dystocia occurs when the widest part of the baby's body, his or her shoulders, get stuck in the birth canal. The baby can then not be removed without a lot of effort, yet at that the same time, the baby needs to be able to complete the birth quickly.

The end results of shoulder dystocia can be disastrous. While stuck, the baby's oxygen supply can get cut off, leading to hypoxia. As already mentioned, unless corrected immediately, hypoxia can cause severe and irreparable damage to the baby. It is also possible for a baby to have the nerves in its shoulder or arms damaged as a result of this condition.

As such, doctors who are treating mothers in late pregnancy and childbirth need to be proactive about spotting shoulder dystocia and taking the appropriate steps in response to it. If a doctor fails to do so, then the parents of the child may be able to pursue compensation to cover the costs of their child's injury. These costs can include medical bills and rehabilitation costs, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

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