A baby can get stuck in the birth canal, and this may increase the risk of injury. In some cases, the doctor who monitored the mother and baby during pregnancy could have noted the risks of this occurring and called for a C-section birth. Over 30 percent of all deliveries in the U.S. in 2018 were by C-section according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If a baby’s shoulder or shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, this is known as shoulder dystocia. One primary risk factor for this is a large baby, or a mother with a narrow pelvis. According to a 2004 study in the American Family Physician (AFP) journal, the incidence of shoulder dystocia are as follows:
- 0.6 percent for babies weighing five pounds, eight ounces
- 1.4 percent for babies weighing eight pounds, 13 ounces
- Between five and nine percent for babies weighing between eight pounds, 13 ounces and nine pounds, 14 ounces
In some cases the baby may not be stuck, but labor does not progress quickly, leading to the baby spending more time in the birth canal than they should. If there is an extended second stage of labor, complications may be more likely. Doctors should take steps to monitor the baby so a delivery can occur as quickly as possible.
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The Doctor may Use an Assistive Birth Device to Deliver the Baby
One way doctors can address a baby being stuck in the birth canal is by using techniques to dislodge them, or employing assistive devices to pull the baby through the birth canal. Either of these options increases the risk of injury to the baby, but may be safer than allowing the baby to remain in the birth canal. However, it is imperative that the medical care provider handling the procedure is well trained and follows proper protocols to prevent injuries.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), about three percent of vaginal deliveries in the United States rely on assistive devices that allow a doctor or trained care provider to grip the baby’s head and guide it down the birth canal, including:
- A vacuum device
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A Baby Stuck in the Birth Canal Is At Risk for Several Birth Injuries
A baby can get stuck in the birth canal and may be at risk for birth injuries. These injuries may occur as a result of shoulder dystocia, lack of oxygen to the brain, injuries caused by an assistive delivery device, and more. Some complications and conditions possible after a difficult or assisted delivery include:
- Asphyxiation caused by a pinched umbilical cord or other issues
- Head injuries caused by assistive birth devices
- Cerebral palsy or other traumatic brain injuries
- Brachial plexus injuries and nerve damage
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Broken collarbones, dislocated shoulders, and other orthopedic injuries
If your child was born with a birth injury diagnosis following a difficult delivery, shoulder dystocia, or assisted vaginal delivery using forceps or a vacuum device, their injuries may have been preventable if your doctor identified the risk and called for a C-section or took other steps to ensure safety during delivery.
Pursuing Compensation for Your Child’s Current and Future Care
If your child was stuck in the birth canal and suffered injuries as a result of a negligent medical provider, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation could cover your child’s current and future medical needs, ongoing care costs, and more. An attorney familiar with the medical malpractice laws in your state may be able to help you build a birth injury case and file a claim.
An attorney can help you begin the process by taking steps that include:
- Reviewing your child’s medical records
- Working with a medical expert to prove negligence
- Documenting your current and future losses
- Identifying the liable party
- Filing your claim as required under your state’s medical malpractice laws
- Negotiating a settlement or representing your family in court
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Discuss Your Case With the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
The team from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help if you believe your child’s injuries were a result of negligence. Call us at (800) 222-9529 to get started with a free consultation to discuss your child’s diagnosis, treatment, and other factors related to your case so you can better understand your legal options going forward.