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Research to Remember

Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

The most common risk factor for shoulder dystocia is the use of a vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery. Dystocia occurs to varying degrees in infants with a birth weight of 2500 grams (0.6% to 1.4% increased risk) and in infants weighing 4000 to 4500 grams born to diabetic mothers (5% to 9% increased risk). However, most dystocia occurs with infants of normal birth weight, making prenatal identification of risk factors difficult. Maternal complications of dystocia include postpartum hemorrhage (11%) and fourth-degree maternal lacerations (3.8%), and fetal complications include brachial plexus palsies (4% to 15%), which nearly always resolve within 6 to 12 months after birth. The degree of practitioner experience has no bearing on the incidence of fetal complications.

American Family Physician, 1 April 2004

Pathways Issue 9 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #09.

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