Practice Areas > Birth Injury > Shoulder Dystocia 

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency that can result in a birth injury to the baby and injury to the mother.  Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby's shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery.  Shoulder dystocia is frequently diagnosed when the baby’s head delivers but the shoulders do not follow. If shoulder dystocia occurs, traction on the baby’s head can cause severe nerve injury. Shoulder dystocia must be treated appropriately and rapidly to avoid injury to the baby and the mother. There are several risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia, some of which are preventable or manageable when properly identified and addressed prior to child birth. There are some instances of shoulder dystocia that cannot be anticipated. However, injury to the infant can still be prevented if the appropriate steps are taken once the shoulder dystocia occurs.

Shoulder dystocia and improper medical management of shoulder dystocia may cause damage to the nerves connecting the neck and arm resulting in brachial plexus injuries like Erb's Palsy. Medical providers should not apply excessive traction or lateral traction to the baby's head because the traction may stretch or tear the brachial plexus nerves. There are several maneuvers that medical providers may use to release the baby's impacted shoulder; The Mc Robert's maneuver;Supropubic pressure, Woodscrew maneuver, and in extreme situations the Zavanellie maneuver.

When a child has suffered an injury related to prenatal care, labor or delivery, it is understandable for the parents to have questions about the injury, their legal rights and the legal rights of the child.  We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about what has happened to your child and about your legal rights.  Consultations are free – there is no obligation to call and talk with one of our attorneys.  Contact Us if we can help you.

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Williams & Brown L.L.P.

Bridgeview Center
2nd Floor
7901 Fish Pond Road
Waco, Texas 76710
Telephone: 254.741.6200
Fax: 254.741.6300
Toll Free: 1.888.741.6200