Do You Have a Higher Chance of Shoulder Dystocia During Birth?

Dystocia is defined as difficult or slow delivery or labor.  Courtesy of, pregnancy complications like dystocia can lead to serious medical complications for both mother and baby.  When the baby is being delivered vaginally and the baby’s head is delivered but its shoulders are stuck inside the mother’s body, dystocia occurs.  Health care professionals cannot prevent dystocia, but they should be prepared to take action when it occurs.

Do You Have a Higher Chance of Shoulder Dystocia During Birth?At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, we understand that although no one anticipates infant injury during the birth process, injuries do occur, and unfortunately, they are sometimes due to medical errors on the part of health care providers.  When complications arise during delivery, medical professionals must not delay in acting to prevent injury and possible permanent damage to the baby and to the mother.

Shoulder dystocia can occur due to the following risk factors:

  • The baby is large.
  • The mother is pregnant with more than one baby.
  • The mother is diabetic. (Women who are diabetic are more likely to have large babies.)
  • The baby is delivered post due date.
  • Shoulder dystocia was present in a prior delivery of a large baby.

In the delivery room medical professionals do the following to protect the health of mother and baby:

  • Apply pressure to the mother’s abdomen
  • While the baby is still inside, rotate the shoulders
  • Perform an episiotomy (gently cutting a wider opening for the baby to pass through)
  • Doing a cesarean section


Complications for the baby can include nerve injury to the arms, shoulder, or hand, a broken collarbone or broken arm, oxygen deprivation which can damage the brain and contribute to other medical problems.

Health Care Providers Must Be Held Accountable

If your baby has been the victim of a birth injury caused by a medical error or negligence, you have the right to recover compensation from those responsible for the quality of care provided.  Contact the Beverly Hills birth injury attorneys at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, LLP.  We represent families whose lives have been forever altered due to medical mistakes.  Call 213-514-8332 to learn more via a free consultation.