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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

the guide

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

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Several complications can occur during the delivery of a newborn. However, one complication receives scant media publicity.

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Shoulder dystocia represents a relatively common issue that occurs whenever an infant’s head passes through the birth canal and then the body refuses to pull through during labor. The cause of the lack of baby movement during labor is one, or both shoulders become stuck within the birth canal. Doctors implement measures to move the infant subtly out of the womb. Healthcare professionals consider shoulder dystocia to be an emergency medical condition that demands an “All hands on deck” mentality. The causes of the potentially life-threatening condition for both baby and mother include gestational diabetes for the mother, a much larger than average size baby, and/or the presence of twin infants inside of the mother’s womb

Diagnosing Dystocia of the Shoulder

Elk & Elk

Doctors immediately diagnose shoulder dystocia when the discover part or all of an infant’s head popping out of the birth canal, but the rest of the body refuses to follow the head. Many healthcare professionals refer to the most obvious sign of shoulder dystocia as the “Turtle Syndrome.” The baby’s head comes out of the birth canal only to disappear a few seconds later back into the womb. Think of how a turtle stretches its head to check out the surroundings, before going back inside the security of the shell. Not all infants pop their heads in and out of the birth canal, but a majority of them perform the “Turtle Sign.”

Treating Shoulder Dystocia

Health care professionals follow an acronym called HELPERR to treat babies and mothers that go through shoulder dystocia.

The H begins the process of treating shoulder dystocia by requiring doctors to ask for immediate help from other nurses and doctors who work in the same facility. An episiotomy, which is an incision in the perineum, represents the E in HELPERR. The cut or incision in the area between the anus and vagina might solve the dilemma of a baby’s shoulders becoming stuck in the mother’s birth canal. Doctors also ask mother’s to pull their Legs toward the stomach to perform what is referred to as the McRoberts maneuver. Pulling your legs inward rotates and flattens the pelvis.

Doctors often place Pressure on a specific spot on a mother’s pelvis in an attempt to rotate an infant’s shoulder. Capital E represents the subtle rotation of an infant’s shoulders to create enough room for the infant to pass through the birth canal. Many physicians refer to this.