Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Shoulder dystocia is a potentially fatal complication that can occur during the second stage of labor. In this condition, the baby's head is delivered normally, but the shoulder gets impacted (stuck) in the vagina and cannot be delivered.
It is estimated that the incidence of shoulder dystocia is 1 - 1.5 % of all babies with birth weight of 2,500 grams (5 pounds 8 ounce).
This incidence increases to 4 - 9 % in babies weighing more than 4000 grams ( 9 pounds 14 ounce) (from American Family Physician).
It is very difficult to predict the occurance of shoulder dystocia. But certain causes do predispose to this development:
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Shoulder dystocia is an acute emergency that needs to be dealt with on an urgent basis. Since it is difficult to predict which women will develop shoulder dystocia, it is always wiser to be prepared for this emergency in every woman who is in labor.
The steps for management of shoulder dystocia are:
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