Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs in approximately 1% of deliveries. It occurs when, after delivery of the fetal head, a baby’s anterior shoulder becomes lodged (i.e., stuck) behind a mother’s pubic bone. In turn, the baby does not progress properly and specific maneuvers may be necessary to free the baby’s shoulders to prevent entrapment of the umbilical cord and oxygen deprivation.

Common maneuvers include:

  • McRoberts maneuver;
  • suprapubic pressure;
  • Rubin II or posterior pressure on the anterior shoulder;
  • Woods’ screw maneuver;
  • Jacquemier’s maneuver (Barnums’ maneuver);
  • Gaskin maneuver;
  • Zavanelli’s maneuver;
  • intentional clavicular fracture; and
  • symphysiotomy; and
  • abdominal rescue.

A shoulder dystocia has the potential to cause severe, and lifelong, injury to infants, including:

  • Erb’s palsy;
  • Klumpke’s paralysis;
  • Fetal hypoxia; and
  • Cerebral palsy.

Risk factors for a shoulder dystocia include:

  • prior shoulder dystocia;
  • diabetes;
  • inadequate pelvis;
  • abnormal pelvis;
  • multiparity;
  • prolonger gestations;
  • preeclampsia;
  • maternal age;
  • fetal macrosomia (large baby);
  • maternal obesity.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict medical malpractice and birth injury cases.  If you or your baby have been injured due to medical malpractice, you, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, special education, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. 

To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney, contact us now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at