I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shoulder Dystocia, Baby's Shoulders Stuck During Birth!

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

I teach women to stay off their backs in labor.  But until I watched this video I really didn't realize how laying on our backs can cause a common birth "complication" that often times leads to birth injury.

Have your tissues ready and share this five minute segment with every woman and husband you know!  Now on to the video...Shoulder Dystocia, Baby's Shoulders Stuck During Birth!...

I've known that one of the big "fears" of homebirth is:  "What if the baby's shoulders get stuck?"   (shoulder dystocia).  

What I didn't know was how our position creates this "problem" and just how simple it is to correct.  What's worse, it never occurred to me that some birth attendants fail to deal with it properly and actually injure our babies in the process, audthobillah!

Please, if you're pregnant, watch this video and stay OFF your back in labor and birth!  I know I must seem zealous or advosarial to some, but this is really serious and yet so simple to avoid! 

May Allah protect us and our babies from iatrogenic injuries (doctor caused).  Pay particular attention to Ina Mae Gaskin as she speaks of how to handle a "stuck" baby.


  1. Just wanted to say that in the case of a true shoulder dystocia the position in which you are pushing makes no difference. My first homebirth, which was a vba2c, was an 11 lb baby. I was pushing in a squatting position when his head was born his shoulders got stuck and none of the maneuvers got him out. He was stuck for 30 minutes before the rest of his body was born.

    In my case the scenario was that he died. But mash'Allah this was just the decree of Allah and there are times when we have to accept that no one is to blame for a birth injury or even death. Sometimes breaking a bone may be the only way to assist the baby who is stuck.

    UmmTalhah Siddiqah

  2. May Allah SWT have mercy on you UmmTalhah and reward you with jannah for the patience of this great trial.

    You're right, we truly must accept the decree of Allah SWT.

    At the same time, it is important to be aware of the knowledge which He SWT has given us about what can benefit us. It is crucial to have a care provider who is knowledgeable of the Gaskin and McRoberts maneuvers because there is no way to know which babies are at risk of shoulder dystocia. Even weight is not a clear indicator.

    May Allah SWT give us all the best and help us through every trial, ameen.

    assalamu alaikum

  3. This is true weight is not an indicator of shoulder dystocia and neither is a previous shoulder dystocia (I have had two more vba2cs since with no complication). And I am all for making sure women are educated and take control of their births. I hope that my first post didn't come out the wrong way.

    My point really was that even with a provider that knows the Gaskin and McRoberts maneuvers or encourages pushing in a different position besides the back a baby may still present with shoulder dystocia. And a birth injury may occur as a result. Again in the end whatever happens the good and the bad is from Allah.

    UmmTalhah Siddiqah

  4. Salam alaikum, Umm Talhah Siddiqah,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your strength and patience is an inspiration to us all. May Allah reward you and may your beautiful baby meet you at the gates of Jennah.

    You're right...some cases of true shoulder dystocia are not going to be helped no matter what is done. But it's important women and obstetricians understand the things we do that can complicate or even cause it (like birthing flat on the back and yanking on the head without trying various positions first). Education and learnig from the experiences of others are our best ways to tie the camel.

    Ameen to Jessi's duas and jzk to her for commenting as well.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom