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Did your OB fail to anticipate shoulder dystocia?

As an expectant mother, you may agree that pregnancy falls into the category of amazing. The changes your body goes through at this time could easily cause life threatening adverse health consequences if you weren't pregnant. Moreover, your body provides everything a developing fetus needs in order to allow it to grow from some simple cells into a living, breathing human being. Your body even provides a way for the baby to enter into the world.

It is during this last phase when many women experience some anxiety. The birth remains the part where any number of things can go wrong, but your obstetrician does this all of the time and won't let anything happen to you or your baby. Right? Sure, women have been giving birth for thousands of years, but having backup and experienced guidance throughout the process is one of the advantages of modern medicine.

Shoulder dystocia may be preventable if not predictable

Advancements in modern medicine tell doctors a great deal about pregnancy and the birthing process. Even so, mistakes and oversights continue to occur that threaten your life and the life of your baby. For instance, if you exhibit one or more of the following risk factors, your baby's shoulders may get stuck, a condition called shoulder dystocia:

  • Inducement of labor
  • Delivery after due date
  • Diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Obesity
  • History of large birth weight baby
  • History of shoulder dystocia
  • Forceps or vacuum deliveries
  • Multiple babies in one pregnancy

If your risk factors increase the chances of shoulder dystocia occurring, employing certain birthing strategies may keep it from happening or at least keep your doctor on alert during labor and delivery. Of course, your baby's shoulders may get stuck even without any of these risk factors. Obstetricians need to be ready for anything and prepared to act quickly when things go wrong.

Shoulder dystocia comes with serious risks to mother and child

If your obstetrician fails to provide you with the appropriate standard of care, you and/or your child could suffer from the following:

  • Torn tissues in mother
  • Excessive bleeding in mother
  • Oxygen deprivation in baby
  • Shoulder, hand or arm injuries to baby

Fortunately, many mothers and children return to normal within weeks or months, but some do not. The potential remains for permanent injury or even death.

If you experience such a tragedy, it may have occurred due to medical malpractice. Even if you remain unsure, it wouldn't hurt to seek out a case evaluation for your own peace of mind.

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