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What is shoulder dystocia and how can it affect a child's health?

The birth of a baby is something that Houston couples look forward to for months. The baby's room is set up and decorated, childbirth classes are attended and moms go to frequent medical appointments. Despite all of the preparation, a birth can have complications such as shoulder dystocia.

No parent ever expects their newborn baby will suffer from a birth injury. But thousands of newborns are injured unexpectedly each year across the United States. One type of common birth injury is a shoulder injury. Shoulder dystocia is an injury that happens when a baby's shoulders get stuck inside their mother during delivery. Shoulder dystocia can occur to any newborn, but there are some risk factors. These include babies who are larger in size, the mother is obese, labor is induced, the woman has an epidural or tools like forceps or a vacuum are used in delivery.

Shoulder dystocia can cause many complications for the baby. There can be nerve damage to the baby's arms, hands or shoulder. This can lead to shaking or paralysis. Also, lack of oxygen to the brain may occur. This can lead to severe brain damage or even death. Shoulder dystocia can happen to anyone, but if a parent believes it was caused by a negligent medical provider, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and consult with medical experts to determine if a medical mistake may have occurred. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

No one expects a birth injury to happen to their family. But if a birth injury occurs as a result of a medical provider mistake, a family may be able to hold them responsible.

Source: March of Dimes Foundation, "Shoulder dystocia", accessed on June 12, 2016

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