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Preventing birth injury in oversized babies

Soon-to-be parents in New York may be interested to learn that a study out of Switzerland recommends inducing labor at around 37 or 38 weeks in women who are pregnant with unusually large babies. According to the researchers, while there are dangers involved when inducing labor before 39 weeks, they are offset by the advantages of delivering the baby early when the baby is very large.

The delivery of large infants may result in a condition known as shoulder dystocia, and while it only occurs in about 1 percent of normal-weight babies, with very large babies, the rate is 10 percent. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone during labor, and the babies could be smothered or suffer fractures or spinal damage when this happens.

Half the women in the study were in the induction group while the other half was only monitored. Of the 409 women in the induction group, 366 went on to have induced labor, and of the 413 women who were monitored, 116 women had induced deliveries. According to researchers, 2 percent of babies who were in the induced group and 6 percent of babies who were in the monitoring group suffered shoulder dystocia.

A parent whose child has suffered complications due to shoulder dystocia and who believes that it is due to obstetric negligence may wish to consult an attorney. For example, medical staff might fail to monitor the progress of the birth or take the size of the baby into account. In other cases, the delivery team might fail to recommend a cesarean section when it would have been appropriate. A medical malpractice lawsuit may help to pay for ongoing expenses that the family may be facing as a result of such failures.

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