Larger infants may benefit from early induced labor

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

If a New York mother attempts to give birth to a baby who is larger than normal, the baby may potentially be at risk for suffering shoulder dystocia. This disorder occurs when one or both of the baby’s shoulders becomes lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone during the delivery. However, the results of a recent European study suggest that inducing labor for large babies one to two weeks early could mitigate the risk.

Approximately 800 women whose babies were in the 95th percentile for weight were chosen to participate in the study. Nearly 50 percent of the women had their labor induced while the rest of the women had their pregnancies monitored. In the group of women who had their labor induced, 2 percent of infants suffered shoulder dystocia. Of the mothers who were monitored, 6 percent of the infants born suffered shoulder dystocia.

While shoulder dystocia occurs in approximately 1 percent of infants that are born at normal weight, the risk increases to 10 percent of babies who are oversized at birth. Shoulder dystocia can result in serious complications for the infant, including fractures and nerve damage. In extreme cases, the infant could potentially suffocate during the delivery. However, children who are born too early can also suffer complications that could affect their growth. Thus, the researchers stated that inducing labor early may be best only for infants that are particularly larger than normal-sized infants.

Not all deliveries go smoothly. In some cases, an infant may suffer from oxygen deprivation or fractures if a problem occurs. If an infant suffers a birth injury during the delivery processthat could have potentially been avoided, the parents of the injured infant may want to speak with an attorney about the advisability of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to seek compensation for the damages that were sustained.

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