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Shoulder dystocia can be devastating for mother and baby

When a woman goes into labor, there are a number of unknowns that she has to deal with. For some women, learning that their bundle of joy might not be able to fit in the birth canal adds a layer of uncertainty to the labor.

Shoulder dystocia is a possible issue that some women will face. In this case, the baby's shoulders can't fit through the birth canal as easily as they should under normal conditions. This can be a life-threatening situation in some births.

It is possible to help the baby be born safely in some cases. The mother might need an episiotomy. Her thighs might be brought up close to her stomach. Pressure might be applied on her lower abdomen and the medical team might try to turn the baby to deliver a shoulder.

When the shoulder dystocia is ignored, the mother and baby can die. While this isn't common, women should know about the risk of this occurring.

It isn't always possible to predict when shoulder dystocia will occur. Some indicators, including gestational diabetes or a baby who is measuring large for the gestational age, might be present. Doctors have to weigh the available information against the possible delivery options to decide if a surgical delivery is warranted.

If you or your baby suffered harm because of shoulder dystocia, you might opt to look into the case and determine if legal action is necessary. Seeking compensation might help you to get the services that you need to help you or your baby overcome the injuries that were due to the lax care provided during labor and delivery.

Source: The March of Dimes, "Shoulder dystocia," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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