Though it is a very rare occurrence, shoulder dystocia can lead to complications for both you and your baby. This condition occurs when one, or less frequently both, of your baby's shoulders do not pass under the pubic bone during birth.
While this potentially dangerous condition has been the focus of many studies, there is no one factor that can predict who will have a shoulder dystocia. The best predictor of this condition may be a combination of factors such as a very large baby, a small-framed mother, complications during pregnancy, and previous babies with shoulder dystocia.
If you and your doctor think that you may be at risk for should dystocia, you can use birthing positions known to pose less of a threat of this condition, such as kneeling on all fours. There are also several maneuvers your doctor can use to help your baby move through the lower birth canal.
After the birth, your doctor will be on the lookout for:
While a shoulder dystocia isn't a very common occurrence, knowing what potential risk factors are for you and your baby can help you make wise choices for your labor and birth.