We Fight for You
Photo of professionals at Winckler & Harvey PLLC

An overview of shoulder dystocia

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2019 | Birth Injuries

Expectant mothers in Texas should be aware of the different kinds of complications that are possible during delivery. One of these is called shoulder dystocia (dystocia means a slow or difficult birth). What happens is that the baby’s shoulders become stuck inside the mother’s body. While most babies can still be born safely this way, others may be injured.

Potential side-effects include nerve injuries in the shoulders, arms and hands, leading to temporary shaking or paralysis. It normally goes away after 6 to 12 months. The baby could also be a victim to brain damage or death through lack of oxygen; however, this is rare. The mother may suffer bleeding and tearing of the uterus.

Several factors raise the risk for shoulder dystocia, though strictly speaking, the complication cannot be foreseen. For example, a large baby is one possible factor, but most cases of shoulder dystocia involve babies of normal weight. A mother who is obese, has diabetes, is pregnant with more than one child or gives birth past the due date will be at a greater risk.

Induced labor and the use of epidurals, the pain medicine inserted through the lower back to numb the lower body, are also risk factors. On the other hand, a complete absence of these factors does not mean the complication will not arise.

Since shoulder dystocia cannot be foreseen and prevented, it can be difficult to file a claim. Birth injury claims work only if the doctor failed to live up to generally accepted medical practices. Someone who believes they have grounds for a claim, though, can see a lawyer for a case evaluation. The lawyer could take it on, hire investigators to gather proof of negligence and then proceed to negotiate for a settlement covering medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.

FindLaw Network