Induction may reduce risk of injury for some pregnancies, study finds

A new study is calling for medical professionals to consider induction at 37 weeks gestation if an infant is measuring large. The goal is to reduce the risk of birth injury.

A recent study is calling attention to a potentially devastating condition during labor and delivery: shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when an infant's shoulder or shoulders become lodged within the mother's pelvis during delivery. This event can lead to broken limbs and nerve damage as well as long term complications and even death in both the infant and delivering mother in severe cases. The study reviewed ways to reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia, and concluded that induction of labor may be warranted in certain situations.

More on the study

A recent article in Fox News discussed the study, including an interview with the study's lead author, Doctor Michael Boulvain. The physician is associated with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland. Dr. Boulvain stated that he believes "the benefits of induction outweighed the potential risk of an early term birth" in situations when the infant is exceptionally large. Currently, induction is not generally pursued until the infant is considered full term, which occurs around 39 weeks of gestation. Instead, this study calls for induction between 37 and 38 weeks of gestation for pregnancies with large babies to reduce the risk of complications.

If the infant becomes stuck in the birthing canal during delivery, medical interventions may be necessary. Intervention at this point can include a number of options, including use of medical tools like vacuum or forceps or more invasive measures, like a Cesarean Section.

More on shoulder dystocia

The actual occurrence rates of shoulder dystocia is not accurately known, as a study published by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that reporting of shoulder dystocia events is unreliable. The report concluded that the lack of proper reporting was likely connected to a failure to have a clear definition of the condition. As a result, it called for the medical community to define the condition as "a prolonged head-to-body delivery time (eg, more than 60 seconds) or the need for ancillary obstetric maneuvers."

Remedies available to those who suffer shoulder dystocia

Depending on the details of the case, remedies may be available to help cover the high costs associated with treating shoulder dystocia. If medical professionals are not properly monitoring the labor and delivery process or fail to intervene when they should, leading to injury, compensation is likely available through a medical malpractice claim. Contact an experienced birth injury attorney to discuss your options and better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.