As a Kentucky mom-to-be, your greatest concerns likely center around your developing baby’s health and welfare. Consequently, you take good care of yourself and do everything possible to assure that your baby will enter the world healthy.

Unfortunately, however, you have little control over what happens in the delivery room. At that point, your welfare and that of your baby rest literally in the hands of others, and those others sometimes make mistakes that may result in your baby receiving a birth injury or you yourself facing the risk of delivery complications. Shoulder dystocia represents one of these situations.

Risk factors

WhatToExpect.com explains that shoulder dystocia represents a true medical emergency wherein your baby’s shoulder gets stuck in your birth canal and your doctor must use forceps or a vacuum extractor to complete the delivery. The main risk factors include the following:

  • Your baby weighs nine or more pounds at delivery
  • You go into labor later than your baby’s due date
  • You have a protracted first- or second-stage labor
  • You have a short stature and/or an abnormal pelvic anatomy
  • You suffered from gestational diabetes while pregnant
  • You have an older child who suffered from shoulder dystocia

Following all of your obstetrician’s orders and keeping your pregnancy weight gain to a minimum may lower the chances of shoulder dystocia.

Consequential injuries

Both you and your baby face grave risk of injury if shoulder dystocia occurs. Some of these injuries include the following:

  • Your baby’s collarbone and/or arm breaks
  • (S)he develops brachial plexus palsy
  • (S)he and/or you suffer nerve damage
  • Your uterus ruptures
  • Your perineum tears
  • You hemorrhage

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.