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  • Sharon Tenuta

The Turtle Sign, What's next? - how to avoid shoulder dystocia

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

S. Tenuta


Baby  prop demo descending through a pelvis
baby and pelvis

When studying for birth, shoulder dystocia is highlighted as a serious and common event. Therefore, people over the past hundreds of years, who want to manage birth, have come up with several maneuvers to aid the mother and baby if such an event would occur. Here are ides of how to avoid shoulder dystocia.

Yesterday, I listened to Elizabeth Davis on Gold Midwifery, talk about her experiences with shoulder dystocia. She explained her reasoning and procedures for stuck shoulders during labor. She explained that there is more space in the pelvis when baby is in the oblique angle. So, if baby does seem stuck with the typical Shoulder Dystocia events of turtle sign, no restitution, and purple head, gently rotate the posterior clavicle of baby a couple of centimeters toward the oblique angle with mother on hands and knees. This will give baby space to reposition and then be born.

Davis warned against any forced pushing, as that would further impact a stuck shoulder. Movement is connected to a favorable outcome. Barbara Harper adds, “If you want the baby to move, move the mother.”

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