Shoulder dystocia in primary midwifery care in the Netherlands

A.F. Kallianidis, L.A. Smit, J. van Roosmalen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction In the Netherlands, low-risk pregnancies are managed by midwives in primary care. Despite strict definitions of low risk, obstetric complications can occur. Midwives seldom encounter uncommon labour complications, but are sufficiently trained to manage these. We assessed neonatal and maternal outcome after management of shoulder dystocia in primary midwifery care. Materials and methods In this 2-year prospective cohort study from April 2008 to April 2010, primary-care midwives, who participated in an obstetric emergency course, reported all obstetric complications. Main outcome was neonatal and maternal outcome. Results In sixty-four cases of shoulder dystocia McRoberts was the first maneuver in 42/64 (65.6%) cases with a success rate of 23.8%. All-fours maneuver was most frequently used as the second maneuver (24/45; 53.3%). No neonatal mortality occurred, none of the infants suffered from hypoxic ischemic injury, two (3.1%) had transient brachial plexus injuries, two (3.1%) had fractured clavicles and one (1.6%) had a fractured humerus. Eight (12.5%) neonates were successfully resuscitated because of birth asphyxia. All infants fully recovered. In neonates with immediate adverse outcome significantly more maneuvers were used compared with those without adverse neonatal outcome (p = 0.02). Postpartum hemorrhage occurred in 2/64 (3.1%) women, deep vaginal lacerations in 2/64 (3.1%), perineal tears in 23/64 (35.9%). No anal sphincter injuries occurred. Conclusions McRoberts and all-fours maneuvers are widely used by primary-care midwives in the management of shoulder dystocia. Low rates of adverse neonatal and maternal outcomes were observed in cases of shoulder dystocia up to 6 weeks postpartum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Early online date24 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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