I Had Shoulder Dystocia Once. Will It Happen Again?

Recurrence of shoulder dystocia is a commonly searched phrase. The obstetrics textbook, Munro Kerr’s Operative Obstetrics (2007) by Baskett, et. al., states the following on pages 139-40:

The rate of repeat shoulder dystocia in a subsequent vaginal delivery has been reviewed in six series and the risk of recurrence ranges from 1.1% to 16.7%. The average recurrence rate was relatively low at 10.1%. However, in a case with previous shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury or other complication, caesarean section could be justified in the next pregnancy.


The six studies reviewed are below with a combined total of 2054 subjects. Data was collected between 1980 and 1999.

Smith RB, Lane C, Pearson JF. Shoulder dystocia: what happens at the next delivery? Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1994 Aug;101(8):713-5.

Baskett TF. Shoulder dystocia. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2002 Feb;16(1):57-68.

Lewis DF, Raymond RC, Perkins MB, Brooks GG, Heymann AR. Recurrence rate of shoulder dystocia. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 May;172(5):1369-71.

Flannelly G, Simm A. A study of delivery following shoulder dystocia. British Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dublin 4-7 July 1995. Abstract 516. London: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Olugbile A, Mascarenhas L. Review of shoulder dystocia at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2000 May;20(3):267-70.

Ginsberg NA, Moisidis C. How to predict recurrent shoulder dystocia. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jun;184(7):1427-9; discussion 1429-30.


Related Posts:

Can My Doctor Really Predict Shoulder Dystocia?

ACOG on Fallibility of Obstetric Judgment and Mode of Delivery



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