Zevan and Davidson Law Firm Articles Induced Labor May Prevent Shoulder Dystocia in Newborns

Induced Labor May Prevent Shoulder Dystocia in Newborns

By David Zevan  May. 20, 2015 12:49p

A new study indicates induced labor may be safest for newborns with higher gestational weight.

Birth injuries are an unfortunate aspect of childbirth. Every parent looks forward to the birth of a new member into the family and prays for the well-being of the mother and child. However, birth injuries do occur, and at times, they are serious enough to have life-altering consequences. Birth injuries can leave a baby disabled and the parents may be faced with a huge mental, emotional, and financial turmoil. Some birth injuries are preventable and they occur because of the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare provider. The failure of a doctor to identify complications during childbirth and respond to them appropriately is a major cause of birth injuries.

At Risk for Shoulder Dystocia

Larger newborns may be prone to birth injury caused by obstruction. Recent studies have revealed that inducing labor at 37-38 weeks may prevent birth injuries when the infant is large for his or her gestational age. Large babies are at a greater risk of birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia, a type of obstructed labor. The condition occurs during the delivery process when the baby has partially delivered, but one or both of the shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, preventing delivery.

The obstruction may cause damage to the baby’s nerves, broken bones, and loss of oxygen. Babies with a normal weight have 1 out of 100 chance of suffering shoulder dystocia. On the other hand, babies with a high gestational weight are at a ten times higher risk of shoulder dystocia. It is extremely important for a doctor to monitor infant weight and take preventive measures to ensure no injuries occur during the delivery process.

Inducing Labor to Reduce Shoulder Dystocia

A recent study in Switzerland, Belgium, and France analyzed the incidence of shoulder dystocia in infants induced at 37-38 weeks as opposed to infants that are allowed to grow full term. The study was aimed at evaluating the benefits of induced labor compared to problems associated with premature birth.

Premature birth may cause complications such as reduced lung development, but when researchers compared this to problems associated with shoulder dystocia, they concluded that there was a lower risk of shoulder dystocia with preterm birth; a doctor will balance this against other risks. If a doctor thinks the risk of shoulder dystocia is much higher and the problems associated with it could be more serious, a doctor may consider inducing labor at 37-38 weeks.

Failure to Diagnose Complications

It is the responsibility of a doctor to monitor the condition of the baby and mother during pregnancy; failure to diagnose complications and respond to them appropriately could amount to medical malpractice. With the help of an experienced St. Louis birth injury lawyer from Zevan and Davidson Law Firm, LLC, parents can seek legal guidance and protect their child's legal rights.

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