Expectant parents in Arizona should be aware of possible complications that can occur during childbirth. Shoulder dystocia is a rare birth injury that occurs when one or both of an infant's shoulders become lodged in the mother's pelvis during delivery. Although it occurs in only a small fraction of births and most of the injuries can be resolved within a year with no long-term issues, a small number of shoulder dystocia cases are severe and can result in permanent injuries and even death.
The injuries that are caused by shoulder dystocia result from the intense pressure of the mother's body attempting to force the baby through the birth canal. This can result in the baby receiving insufficient oxygen; nerve damage in the baby's arm, hand or shoulder; or a broken collarbone or arm.
The mother can also suffer significant injuries from a shoulder dystocia. Typical injuries may include hemorrhaging; bruising or tearing of the vagina, cervix or rectum; rupturing of the uterus or bruising to the bladder.
There are many reasons why shoulder dystocia may occur. Most incidents occur due to the unusually large size of the baby, the small size of the mother's pelvis, or a combination of both factors. Additional contributing factors can include the presence of diabetes or extra weight in the mother and a baby that is overdue.
Shoulder dystocia can also be a result of negligent medical care. Errors can occur during an assisted delivery that requires the use of a vacuum or forceps. A physician can also fail to identify shoulder dystocia in time to correct the condition.
Birth injuries that are caused in part or in full by medical errors during the delivery process are examples of medical malpractice. A personal injury attorney may help a victim pursue a claim and obtain compensation for any injuries sustained.