Shoulder dystocia is a rare but serious obstetric complication that can result in significant neonatal and maternal morbidity and in costly litigation. Conflict exists in the literature regarding definition, incidence, predictability and preventability, relationship to neonatal injury, and appropriate management models. Anticipatory clinical interventions for potential shoulder dystocia have included ultrasound assessment of macrosomia; elective induction of labor, elective caesarean section; altered place of birth, and generous episiotomy/episioproctotomy. The authors note that these interventions often conflict with client desires and nurse-midwifery philosophy of birth, generate significant risks and costs in themselves, and do not address the poor predictability of shoulder dystocia. In recent literature, the safety and efficacy of maternal position change maneuvers (such as McRoberts maneuver, hands-knees position, and squatting) have been presented as methods to resolve most cases of shoulder dystocia Despite the success of these more benign, external maneuvers, the episiotomy mandate remains in nearly all obstetric and midwifery texts and handbooks (1–8) and journal references (9–19). A literature review of related professional disciplines was undertaken to study these conflicts and to identify support for applying a philosophy of minimal, appropriate intervention to the complex issue of shoulder dystocia.