The birth of a baby is one of the most memorable moments in many people’s lives. But for some mothers and babies, birth injuries are an unfortunate reality. One birth injury that can occur when delivering a child is shoulder dystocia. Here’s what you need to know about this condition.
What is shoulder dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that occurs when one or both shoulders of a baby get stuck below the mother’s pubic bone after birth. This can make it difficult for doctors and nurses to deliver the child, which may result in injuries to the infant.
Which injuries are possible?
There are several types of birth injuries that can occur in the event of shoulder dystocia. These include nerve damage, birth asphyxia if oxygen doesn’t reach the baby’s brain, brachial plexus damage to nerves between neck and arm, and several forms of fractures.
What are risk factors for shoulder dystocia?
There is a greater chance of delivering a baby with this condition when one or more risk factors are present. These include the following:
• The mother has diabetes during pregnancy.
• The baby is large with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds or 4 kilograms. This can also make it difficult to deliver the infant.
• The birth canal is small.
How can mothers prevent shoulder dystocia?
Getting prenatal care regularly is important as it allows doctors and midwives to monitor the health of both the mother and baby throughout pregnancy. A mother will have more time during labor for intervention if there’s a problem during prenatal care visits. Many hospitals offer birth preparation programs specific to shoulder dystocia that can educate parents on the signs of this condition and how to help prevent it before birth.
Although birth injuries like shoulder dystocia aren’t common, they can occur at any time. With proper prenatal care and education on how to prevent this birth defect before birth, mothers have a greater chance of delivering safely.