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Birth injury: Shoulder dystocia can be prevented

As the end of pregnancy approaches, any Pennsylvania mother-to-be will naturally be anxious about what can go wrong. The term dystocia means slow or difficult childbirth, and the most common reason for dystocia is a small pelvic region in the mother or a baby that is too large or both. Under these circumstances, it is not uncommon for a baby to suffer a birth injury such as shoulder dystocia. A large baby can become trapped in the mother’s pelvis, and the force of pushing can cause severe injuries to the mother and the child.

These injuries can include damage to a baby’s collarbone, shoulder, arm or hand. Other potential injuries include hemorrhage, asphyxiation, paralysis, Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus and even death. At the same time, the mother could also suffer severe injuries such as bruises, tears, bladder injury or uterine rupture.

However, prolonged labor and shoulder dystocia can also result from the negligence of medical professionals. Prenatal observation typically prepares the doctor for physical aspects that may pose problems during the labor process. Also, if an acceptable standard of care by doctors and their staff lags during the hours leading up to the birth, they may be unprepared for such complications.

Any birth injury can cause severe trauma to a newborn baby and his or her parents. Legal options can be explored, and medical malpractice lawsuits can be pursued, but it is an extremely complicated field of the law.

An experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney can assist in having the medical facts scrutinized by a birth injury expert. Based on this review, a lawyer can build a case of medical malpractice against those whose negligence caused injuries that can have life-long consequences.

Source:, “Birth Injuries: Potential Shoulder Dystocia Causes and Injuries“, Dec. 10, 2015

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