Pennsylvania couples who are expecting a baby may have heard about complications that could happen during birth. Birth injuries, also known as birth trauma, occur in about 28,000 births in the United States each year. Though the majority of babies will recover after being injured during birth, some injuries may require extensive medical assistance and affect the child long after being born.

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most common types of birth injuries. During active labor, one or both of the shoulders of the baby might get stuck inside of the mother’s pelvis. If this occurs, the doctor may try to change the position of the baby or mother. Most births where shoulder dystocia occur are resolved quickly; however, there is a risk of injury to both the mother and the baby.

For example, shoulder dystocia could lead to the baby experiencing a broken arm or collarbone, loss of oxygen or damage to the brachial plexus nerves. Mothers with the condition during labor are at a greater risk of postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture or perineum tearing. These complications could lead to severe injuries or death to the mother and/or child. An emergency c-section may be necessary to prevent these complications from occurring.

Having a baby is a major event in many women’s lives. When trauma occurs, it might lead to long-time physical and psychological problems. Doctors must carefully examine prenatal ultrasounds and perform thorough physical exams to identify shoulder dystocia before labor starts. If a doctor neglects this duty and a baby or mother gets injured, legal action may be warranted. A medical malpractice lawyer might could help an injured mother or baby collect medical and compensatory damages to cover medical costs and lost wages during recovery.