It’s not uncommon for individuals to see childbirth emergencies depicted on television and think producers are playing them up for the cameras. Many believe that the worst that can happen is for them to need a cesarean section (C-section). There are far worse outcomes that can occur during childbirth, though. A shoulder dystocia birth injury ranks high up on the list.
How do shoulder dystocia injuries occur?
A baby will seamlessly pass through the pelvis and birth canal during typical childbirth. Data compiled by the March of Dimes shows that in as much as 3% of all pregnancies, shoulder dystocia results from one or both of the fetus’ shoulders becoming trapped in the mother’s pelvis as she attempts to birth it.
Is shoulder dystocia preventable?
Many doctors argue that it’s challenging to diagnose shoulder dystocia. Some factors can put pregnant women at a higher risk for this condition, including carrying multiples, diabetes, being overweight and macrosomia, or birthing a baby that weighs more than eight pounds. Using assisted birthing measures such as a vacuum, receiving an epidural and inducing labor are other factors that can cause shoulder dystocia.
How a health care provider responds once they realize what’s occurred makes a difference. Obstetricians or midwives will often try to reposition both moms and fetuses to ease the baby out. Medical providers often recommend emergency C-sections if their efforts fail. If your doctor or midwife is too aggressive with their repositioning efforts or waits too long to take a mother into surgery, then serious injuries may result.
What long-term health implications come with shoulder dystocia?
It’s not uncommon for babies with a shoulder dystocia injury to endure damaged brachial plexus nerves, or the ones running from the neck down into the arm and asphyxia, or a loss of oxygen to the rest of the baby’s body. Arm and collarbone fractures often occur as well.
Moms often suffer a uterine or perineum tear or postpartum hemorrhaging due to delivering a baby with shoulder dystocia.
What can you do if your childbirth didn’t go as planned?
While shoulder dystocia is rare, it can be life-altering and potentially deadly. A birth injuries attorney in Saddle Brook will want to review your medical records to learn more about the care you received from your health care providers before advising you whether they believe any negligence occurred per New Jersey law.