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Birth Injury

Maneuvers for Shoulder Dystocia – Birth Injury Safety Check

Birth isn’t very comfortable for the mom-to-be. Natural childbirth is already painful, and sometimes things take a turn for the worse – when the baby gets stuck on the way out!

Shoulder dystocia is a major delivery complication that happens when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on mom’s pelvis. In this video, birth injury attorney Laura Brown explains the methods doctors try to get the baby out safely without causing harm to baby or mother.

In labor and delivery, when the baby gets stuck – so the baby’s shoulder is stuck under the mother’s pubic bone – there are a series of maneuvers that the doctors and nurses should be trying to do to try to remove that shoulder, to get the shoulder unstuck.

The first maneuver is suprapubic pressure, which is where they put pressure directly over the mother’s pubic bone to try to push that shoulder out, to get it unstuck from the pubic bone. If that doesn’t work, the next maneuver is a Woods screw maneuver where that the provider physically puts his hands on the shoulder – his or her hands – and tries to turn the baby or rotate the baby in a screwing type of maneuver to pull the baby out. The last step really is Zavanelli maneuver, which happens when the provider decides that the baby needs to be delivered urgently, cannot get the baby unstuck from the pubic bone, and so pushes the baby back up inside the mother to delivered by a Cesarean section of surgical procedure – but it is the last resort and should be used almost never if it can be avoided.