A European study looked at inducing labor for babies that pre-birth had been determined to be large. The study, which may interest Maryland readers, looked at the possibility of inducing labor in order to reduce the occurrences of shoulder dystocia. This birthing complication happens when the head of the baby has progressed down the birth canal but one or both of the shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Shoulder dystocia is a complication in 1 percent of normal-weight births but has a 10 percent occurrence in larger babies.
With shoulder dystocia, the baby could endure fractures, nerve damage or suffocation. Inducing labor also has risks. A baby delivered before 39 weeks gestation may have breathing and other health complications. Researchers believed that the risks of shoulder dystocia were greater to the large babies than the risks brought on by inducing labor prior to 39 weeks. The conclusion from the study was that one occurrence of shoulder dystocia was prevented for every 25 cases where labor was induced.
The authors admitted to some limitations in the study. They include a small number of women participating due to reluctance by the mothers to volunteer for the study. Another concern was the impreciseness of attempting to determine a baby’s weight before birth.
Although the medical profession may be making progress on preventing birth injuries to babies of all sizes, unnecessary harm may still be experienced by the baby or the mother. When a family believes that inattentive or negligent care was provided during a birth, the family may want to learn more from an attorney about available options to pursue.