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What is shoulder dystocia?

As an Illinois mom to be, your developing baby’s health and welfare likely are the top things on your mind. That is why you do your best to maintain your own health so that your baby can likewise thrive prior to birth. Unfortunately, however, you cannot control every aspect of your baby’s welfare, such as whether or not (s)he suffers a birth injury like shoulder dystocia.

As explained by WhatToExpect.com, shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that can occur during labor and delivery if one or both of your baby’s shoulders gets stuck behind your pelvic bone while descending through your birth canal. While only one in 100 babies weighing six or less pounds at birth suffers from shoulder dystocia, the risk goes up to nine in 100 if your baby’s birth weight is nine pounds or more.

Risk factors

In addition to size and weight, additional shoulder dystocia risk factors include the following:

  • You suffer from gestational diabetes
  • One of your older children had or has shoulder dystocia
  • You deliver after your expected delivery date
  • The doctor has to use forceps or vacuum extraction in order to deliver your baby

Resulting injuries

Both you and your baby could receive serious injuries in the event of your baby’s shoulder dystocia including the following:

  • You could hemorrhage
  • Your uterus could rupture
  • Your perineum could tear significantly
  • Your pelvic area could sustain injury
  • One or both of you could suffer nerve damage
  • Your baby could suffer one or more collarbone or arm fractures

The best thing you can do to help prevent shoulder dystocia is to gain no more weight during your pregnancy than that recommended by your doctor. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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