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  4.  – What is shoulder dystocia?

What is shoulder dystocia?

As an expectant Oregon mom, this likely is one of the most exciting times in your life. Nothing surpasses the joy of welcoming a new baby into the world and into your home. The last thing you want or expect is that your baby might suffer a birth injury while being born. Unfortunately, many babies do suffer such injuries, including that of shoulder dystocia.

As explained by, shoulder dystocia happens during labor and delivery when one or both of your baby’s shoulders become stuck behind your pelvic bone as (s)he descends into your birth canal. It usually has to do with his or her size as compared to yours. Only one in 100 babies weighing six pounds or less suffer shoulder dystocia as compared to up to nine in 100 babies weighing nine or more pounds.

Risk factors

In addition to your baby’s size and weight, other shoulder dystocia risk factors include the following:

  • You have gestational diabetes
  • You previously delivered a baby with shoulder dystocia
  • You are past your delivery date
  • The doctor must use forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver your baby

Resulting injuries

Both you and your baby face serious injury any time shoulder dystocia occurs, such as the following:

  • You could hemorrhage
  • Your uterus could rupture
  • Your perineum could significantly tear
  • Your pelvic area could sustain injury
  • One or both of you could suffer nerve damage
  • Your baby could suffer one or more collarbone or arm fractures

The best way you can prevent shoulder dystocia is to keep your pregnancy-related weight gain within the limits your doctor recommends so that your baby will not become too large during his or her gestational period.

While this information is educational in nature and not legal advice, it can help you understand shoulder dystocia and what to expect.