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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

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now and in the future.

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During labor, numerous events can obstruct the flawless delivery of a newborn. Once such complication is called shoulder dystocia, which is an event during labor that can put a newborn at high risk of incurring permanent physical damage and in cases not promptly diagnosed, death.

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The diagnosis of the baby delivery issue does not require advanced diagnostic equipment. Doctors diagnose dystocia of the shoulder by using their highly trained eyes. After the head of a baby passes through the vagina, doctors should be able to maneuver the rest of the body onto the delivery table. However, dystocia of the shoulder prevents doctors from maneuvering the baby’s body enough to extract it from the womb. Health care professionals typically diagnose shoulder dystocia after only a few attempts to manipulate the baby’s body to pass through the birth canal.

Elk & Elk

Advanced equipment comes in handy for doctors who want to find out why the baby’s shoulders have become stuck in the birth canal. It used to take guesswork for doctors to maneuver the body of a baby through the birth canal. Now, doctors can visualize just how much maneuvering they need to perform to move the entire body of a baby through the birth canal.

Healthcare professionals consider shoulder dystocia to be an emergency condition that requires immediate intervention. A misdiagnosis or the lack of a diagnosis can place a newborn at a high risk of death. The goal of the prompt diagnosis of shoulder dystocia is to prevent fetal asphyxia and the development of Erb’s palsy. Long-term physical damage includes broken bones and severe maternal bleeding.

The potentially life-threatening condition occurs in around three percent of all births.

Complications Should Be Prevented

The prompt diagnosis of shoulder dystocia reduces the likelihood of complications for both the baby and the mother. Most cases do not cause serious injuries, but you must be aware of the possibility of severe bleeding in the birth canal, as well as mild to severe injuries on the hands, arms, and/or shoulders of a baby. Prolonged deliveries of a baby can cause a reduction in the oxygen within a baby’s brain, which can cause irreparable brain damage. Doctors also have to look out from the tearing of tissue within the mother’s cervix, uterus, vagina, and rectum. Permanent complications caused by shoulder dystocia occur in only 10%of all cases.

Know the Risk Factors

The incidence of shoulder dystocia is higher in mothers who have one or more of the common risk factors. Women who live with diabetes and gestational diabetes are more at risk of enduring shoulder dystocia. Mothers who have a history of giving birth to larger and heavier than average babies increase the likelihood of the birth delivery condition. Induced labor can force a newborn to come out of the birth canal in the wrong position, which can cause the shoulders to become stuck in the vaginal cavity. Obesity and giving birth after the expected due date also increase the risk of shoulder dystocia. If you are a mother, who is expecting twins, your team of health care professionals should be on heightened alert for birth delivery issues.

The prompt diagnosis of shoulder dystocia should be enough to prevent long-term health complications. However, you might need to work with an experienced attorney who has handled numerous medical malpractice cases to seek justice for the misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis for shoulder dystocia.