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"Tim Spring heads the ‘assiduous’ team at Moore Blatch LLP."

Legal 500 2016

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Shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is complication in labour where after delivery of the baby’s head, the baby's shoulder becomes trapped behind the mother's pelvic bone.

It is regarded as an obstetric emergency because fetal demise can happen if the baby is not delivered.

There are known risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia, which include:

  • A suspected large baby

  • Maternal diabetes

  • Maternal obesity

  • A family history

There are also known warning signs which should suggest to the midwife or clinical team that there is a risk of shoulder dystocia occurring.  Common signs include a prolonged first or second stage of labour; no shoulder rotation or descent; the need for instrumental delivery

Shoulder dystocia, when it arises, can result in a broken bone or clavicle, damage to the nerves running through the neck, or even in some cases shoulder paralysis.

As with any birth injury, some cases of shoulder dystocia are the result of clinical negligence in circumstances where they were clearly avoidable with better or alternative treatment or care.  In such cases you could be entitled to make a compensation claim and should obtain specialist legal support and advice.

For more information please contact Tim Spring.

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