Shoulder Dystocia – Injury to the Brain

The most serious of the results of failing to anticipate and properly deliver an infant with shoulder dystocia is injury to the brain. The way the brain is injured, what doctors call the Mechanism of Injury is lack of oxygen to the infant’s brain. This is called an Asphyxial Injury. (See Cerebral Palsy).

When the baby is trapped, halfway between the mother’s uterus and the outside world, the lifeline known as the umbilical cord is compressed. The umbilical cord provides a passageway for mother to provide nutrients and oxygen to the baby; vital oxygen to allow the baby to survive. If a shoulder dystocia is not anticipated, prepared for and proper delivery effected the baby could be without sufficient oxygen long enough to damage the brain beyond restoration