According to a European study, some pregnant women with exceptionally large babies could benefit from labor induction. Arizona mothers might be interested to learn that doing this could reduce the risk of the babies' shoulders becoming stuck during birth, a condition called shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the head of the baby comes out but one or both of the shoulders become lodged behind the pelvic bone of the mother. This prevents the remainder of the baby from emerging and puts them at risk of suffering spinal nerve damage, suffocation and bone fractures. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that this condition happens in approximately 1 percent of births that involve babies of normal weight but in approximately 10 percent of births with oversized infants.
Doctors do not generally induce labor until women are about 39 weeks into their pregnancy, which is when the babies are considered full term. This is because delivering babies sooner than that could result in breathing problems or other complications. However, researchers have investigated whether keeping the babies from growing bigger by inducing labor between 37 and 38 weeks could make the delivery safer.
After identifying over 800 pregnant women with large babies, about half were randomly selected for labor induction, and the rest were monitored until natural delivery or inducing labor became necessary. While shoulder dystocia, fractures or delayed delivery happened in 2 percent of the labor induction group, they occurred in 6 percent of the monitored group. The study found that one of every 25 inductions prevented shoulder dystocia.
While the condition could occur through no fault of the obstetrician, sometimes it could if there is medical negligence during the delivery process. In such an event, the baby's parents may wish to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in order to determine what remedies may be available to receive compensation for the resulting damage.