A shoulder dystocia is a serious injury that can happen during childbirth. Though it can occur in a few different ways, it typically happens when the child’s shoulders are not in the expected position as it is being born. Even so, the head is able to pass through the birth canal.

However, after the head emerges, the child becomes stuck. One shoulder gets caught on the pubic symphysis, which is an area of cartilage that runs between the left and right pelvic bones.

A doctor or midwife should realize that this is the reason for the child’s being stuck, but they don’t always notice what has happened. As such, he or she may try to pull on the child, using excessive force to try to finish the birth. This can put a lot of pressure on the brachial plexus and stretch it. In the worst cases, there can be serious damage when nerves are torn.

For adults, a good way to imagine how this happens is to think about sitting in a chair. A second person walks up behind you and puts both hands on your shoulders, pinning you down. Then a third person pulls upward on your head and neck. You can imagine how much force this can put on the spine, and it’s only worse for a newborn, who has not developed all of the muscle tissue that an adult has.

Was your child injured during birth in New Jersey, and do you think the injuries could have been avoided? If so, you should know that you may be able to seek compensation for those injuries.

Source: BirthInjury.org, “Prevention of Brachial Plexus Injuries–9 Factors,” accessed May 19, 2016