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Birth Injury

Shoulder Dystocia? NO Fundal Pressure! – Birth Injury Safety Check

Did you know that many hospitals still allow an outdated birth assistance method? When a baby’s shoulder gets stuck on his mother’s pubic bone on the way out of the birth canal (called shoulder dystocia), doctors and nurses might try to use “fundal pressure” to get him unstuck. They should NOT.

Birth injury attorney Laura Brown explains the heartbreaking cost of using fundal pressure in the wrong situation.

In labor and delivery, if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal, if the baby’s shoulder gets impacted under the mother’s pubic bone, the doctors and nurses need to get the baby unstuck, need to get the baby delivered. So what is supposed to happen first is the doctors and nurses should use something called suprapubic pressure. It’s called that because the shoulder is stuck under the mother’s pubic bone, and so the nurses or the doctor should put their hands and put pressure on the mother’s pubic bone to try to force the shoulder under the bone, so the baby can be delivered. The nurses should never use something called fundal pressure.

Fundal pressure used to be used, but now we know that it’s dangerous and should not be used, but its where there’s pressure placed on the top of the mother’s abdomen, directly under her breast, pushing down on the baby. That’s dangerous because it can cause the baby to actually become further impacted or stuck worse under the pubic bone then otherwise should never be used. There should be hospital policies; there should be training that nurses are trained never to use this type of fundal pressure.

In a case that I handled recently representing a child, the child got stuck during the delivery and the nurses did exactly what they were not supposed to do and used fundal pressure. The nurse climbed on top of the bed and pushed at the top of the mother’s abdomen to try to force the baby down the birth canal and as a result, the baby was stuck for 7 minutes without any oxygen and suffered a severe and permanent brain injury.

If you have a child that suffered a severe injury and something like this happened, you observed pressure on your abdomen, and you’re not sure what happened and if it was the right thing or the wrong thing. Then call our law firm, talk to me, we will get your records and review the records to see if we can determine exactly what happened and if this injury was preventable.