Birth injuries can be devastating. A common birth injury results from shoulder dystocia during delivery of a baby. If the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery, this is commonly referred to as a shoulder dystocia.
If the shoulder dystocia is not properly managed it can result in a permanent brachial plexus injury. The recognition, prevention and management of shoulder dystocia can make the difference between a baby delivered with little, if any, complications and a baby that has a life-long disability.
Brachial Plexus injuries that result due to a shoulder dystocia that is not properly managed need to be carefully understood and evaluated to determine if the injury to the nerves in the brachial plexus were preventable and whether the injury is temporary or permanent.
Frequently, shoulder dystocia occurs when the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck or lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone so that the baby is unable to be delivered without careful maneuvers being used. Excessive lateral traction and other inappropriate steps taken by the labor nurse or obstetrician can result in an avulsion injury to the nerves of the baby that can have a huge impact on the baby.
Some brachial plexus injuries are temporary and others are permanent. Understanding the risks for encountering shoulder dystocia and managing the risks appropriately are important. When shoulder dystocia occurs, it is an obstetrical emergency that must be properly handled to avoid an unnecessary injury. To learn more, visit our verdict section on shoulder dystocia.
Source: Dr. Henry Lerner, Shoulder Dystocia