• shoulder dystocia;
  • macrosomia;
  • brachial plexus injury;
  • Erb palsy;
  • suprapubic pressure;
  • McRobert's maneuver;
  • Rubin maneuver;
  • Gaskin maneuver;
  • midwifery;
  • malpractice

Shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury occur in 0.5% to 1.5% of all births. Risk factors for both include maternal obesity, excessive prenatal weight gain, maternal diabetes, protracted labor, and fetal macrosomia. These factors are involved in only about 50% of births complicated by shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury. Shoulder dystocia has a low recurrence rate (9.8%–16.7%), although history of previous shoulder dystocia is the most reliable predictor of occurrence. Brachial plexus injury is the most common morbidity associated with shoulder dystocia, but 50% of newborns who present with this injury were not subject to shoulder dystocia at birth. Most brachial plexus injuries are transient, although 5% to 22% become permanent. Shoulder dystocia followed by permanent brachial plexus injury or mental impairment is one of the leading causes of malpractice allegations. Prompt assessment and management of shoulder dystocia and preparation to maximize the efficiency of shoulder dystocia maneuvers are critical. Documentation of the appropriate use of maneuvers to relieve shoulder dystocia demonstrates standard of care practice, thereby decreasing the potential for successful malpractice allegations.