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Delivery Maneuvers to Prevent Brachial Plexus Injuries

By: Anapol Weiss

A stressful situation arises quickly during a difficult birth. When it involves a macrosomic or abnormally large baby, shoulder dystocia threatens permanent injury. Proper action must be taken immediately by hospital staff to ensure a safe delivery for both the mother and her child.

Fortunately, there are specific delivery maneuvers that can prevent brachial plexus injury at birth caused by shoulder dystocia – when the baby is stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. These maneuvers include:

  • McRoberts Maneuver: The doctor flexes the mother’s legs tightly to her abdomen to widen the pelvis and flatten the spine in the lower back.
  • Woods Corkscrew: One of the infant’s shoulders is pushed towards the baby’s chest and the other shoulder is pushed towards the baby’s back.
  • Suprapubic pressure: The doctor applies pressure to the mother’s lower abdomen.

These maneuvers are widely known as ways to safely delivering a macrosomic baby whose size wasn’t discovered before delivery.

Thanks to these and other actions obstetricians can take – such as performing a Caesarian section –permanent nerve damage is avoidable. Failure to act can cause a baby’s brachial plexus nerves to tear from the root and lead to a lifelong condition called Erb’s Palsy.

Contact Anapol Weiss if a difficult birth resulted in permanent injuries for your child. Our lawyers have advocated for injured children for decades, and they can get the answers you need.