Shoulder dystocia may result in Erb’s palsy

Bringing a new child into the world is a thrilling time for most North Carolina parents. Although births typically occur without serious complications, the effects can be devastating when the delivery team mishandles an unexpected situation. At The Melvin Law Firm, we often represent clients whose children experienced injuries during childbirth.

According to Health Line, most cases of shoulder dystocia occur with no warning.  It typically happens when the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind your pelvic bone during the birthing process. Doctors must use additional techniques quickly to move the baby so that delivery can continue and avoid severe complications.

Some women have more risk of experiencing this condition than others.  If you have gestational diabetes, are pregnant with multiple babies or are significantly overweight, there is an increased likelihood of having children with shoulder dystocia. Additional risk factors include the following:

  • A baby with a heavy birth weight
  • Induced labor
  • Late delivery
  • Operative vaginal birth   

Doctors generally diagnose shoulder dystocia when the baby’s head emerges from the mother, but the body does not follow. In many cases, the baby seems to pull back into the mother’s body. The delivering physician must work quickly to correct the problem.

If the physician does not correctly diagnose the issue and perform advanced maneuvers quickly, there may be long-term effects, such as injuries to your baby’s hands and arms or brain damage due to lack of oxygen. You may experience excessive bleeding or severe tearing of the vagina, cervix, rectum or uterus. There might be grounds for a claim if your child has Erb’s palsy as a result of birth complications. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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