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Complications of shoulder dystocia in newborns and mothers

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Doctor Errors |

The birth of a new baby is an exciting event for a Lake Oswego family, but when complications arise during the labor and delivery processes, the joy of birth can become scary and uncertain. Most doctors are prepared to take action when difficulties come up that may threaten the health of babies and mothers. One complication that can pose serious problems for moms and babies alike is shoulder dystocia.

This informational post does not offer any legal or medical advice on any topic. It provides readers with general information on what shoulder dystocia is and what can happen when doctors breach their duties of care to their patients. When a baby or mother is harmed due to birth negligence, they may have rights to compensation through medical malpractice claims in court.

What is shoulder dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a somewhat rare birth complication. It happens when a baby’s shoulders become stuck in its mother’s birthing canal. The baby cannot move through the birth canal and the mother may risk injury and exhaustion in the process of attempting to push the baby through.

A doctor should monitor their patient and take note when shoulder dystocia has become an issue. While in some cases the baby may dislodge and move through the canal for birth, in other cases the doctor may need to intervene with forceps, vacuum, or C-section procedures. The use of these interventions poses risks that may also inflict birth injury harm on mothers and babies.

What can happen when shoulder dystocia is present during a birth?

There are many complications that can result from shoulder dystocia experienced at birth. A baby may suffer Erb’s palsy, a condition that leaves the baby’s arm and shoulder damaged from nerve trauma. Similarly, when a baby becomes stuck in the birthing canal and cannot move, they may lose oxygen and suffer serious medical problems from it.

Mothers whose babies suffer shoulder dystocia can have complications as well. Bruising, bleeding, and uterine ruptures are all possible complications when mothers cannot push their babies through their birthing canals. Diligence on the part of doctors can help prevent these devastating issues.

Shoulder dystocia can turn a happy birth into a tragic situation. Medical practitioners should be aware of how shoulder dystocia happens and what to do when it does occur. Those who fail to act may cause their patients to suffer medical malpractice and serious losses.



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