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Shoulder dystocia and medical malpractice

Shoulder dystocia is a somewhat rare birth injury that occurs during labor where one of both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck in the mom’s pelvis. Often, the baby and mother are unharmed, but shoulder dystocia could cause birth trauma and significantly delay labor. This birth trauma could result in a medical malpractice case in Ohio.

Risks and signs

This birth injury may not be common, but there are a few factors that could make a mother more susceptible to shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia often happens with larger babies or twins and triplets. Additionally, diabetes and being overweight are risk factors.


In many instances, labor is still safe. However, if shoulder dystocia does occur, the baby may incur fractures, damage to brachial plexus nerves, or suffer from lack of oxygen. The mother could experience postpartum hemorrhages, uterine tears, or rips to the perineum.

Doctor’s role and treatments

Doctors have trouble noticing shoulder dystocia early, but there are several ways a doctor may decrease the risk of harm. If the doctor notices your baby is large, the doctor could recommend a c-section. Other treatments include helping the baby’s arms out of the birth canal manually, giving you an episiotomy, and pressing your thighs towards your stomach to open up your pelvis. If your doctor neglects to properly treat shoulder dystocia, you or your baby could be harmed and you might be able to file a claim for medical malpractice.

Shoulder dystocia does not always result in serious injuries, but if a doctor does not properly assess the risk factors or is not readily prepared to treat this birth injury, both parties could experience trauma. A medical malpractice attorney could assist you with your case against a negligent doctor.