Some complications can be caught during pregnancy and avoided; however, some seem to appear out of nowhere. Shoulder dystocia is one of these complications. Shoulder dystocia happens during childbirth when the baby's head has come out, but one or both of it's shoulders are stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone. Certain risk factors may make a woman more likely to encounter this issue during labor, but in general, it can be hard to anticipate. Risk factors may include:

  • Shoulder dystocia in a past delivery. Just because a woman encountered shoulder dystocia in a past delivery does not mean it's going to happen again—but there's certainly a chance because her pelvis hasn't changed since then. 
  • Obesity. Shoulder dystocia tends to occur more with mothers who are obese, partly because obese women tend to have larger babies. 
  • An abnormal pelvis. Since a baby's shoulders become stuck behind the pelvis in shoulder dystocia, it would only seem natural that if a woman has an abnormal pelvis in some way, her chances of shoulder dystocia could be higher. 

Not every incident of shoulder dystocia is the same, and a doctor may attempt several different solutions to make sure the baby is delivered safely. Common procedures doctors may try include:

  • McRobert's Maneuver – One study showed that this maneuver solved 42% of all cases of shoulder dystocia. It involves flexing the mom's legs toward her shoulders as she lays on her back. 
  • Wood's Maneuver – The doctor places their fingers behind the baby's shoulder and tries to turn it.
  • Zavanelli Maneuver – This can be quite dangerous, but it involves pushing the baby's head back inside and doing a cesarean delivery. 

If shoulder dystocia is not handled correctly during a delivery, the baby can suffer injuries that result in lifelong disabilities. Sometimes, the entire situation is out of the doctor's control, but that's where medical malpractice law comes into play. A birth injury lawyer will be able to look at the situation and determine if the doctor did everything the right way, or if she made bad decisions that other doctors wouldn't normally make. 

If your child suffered a birth injury in Texas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas, contact Girards Law for a free consultation at 888-897-2762