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If My Baby Seems to be So Large and There's a Risk of Shoulder Dystocia, Why Don't We Just do a Cesarean Section?

April 8, 2018

Unless the baby is measuring over 10 pounds (smaller for large babies whose mother has gestational diabetes), impending macrosomia is not an indication for cesarean section.


Like we said before, estimation of fetal weight can be off by a significant amount, and there are many risks of cesarean section, both immediate and long term. Shoulder dystocia is very unpredictable, and although macrosomia increases the risk for shoulder dystocia, most macrosomic babies do not have a shoulder dystocia and many shoulder dystocias occur in babies who are average weight or even smaller.


To prevent one permanent injury to a baby from shoulder dystocia we would have to do almost 4000 cesarean sections, which could cause significant harm to the mothers. I have delivered many babies well over 10 pounds that did not have a shoulder dystocia, and the most difficult shoulder dystocia I experienced occurred in a baby that was just over 7 pounds.





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