Prevention of shoulder dystocia: A randomized controlled trial to evaluate an obstetric maneuver

Olivier Poujade, Elie Azria, Pierre-François Ceccaldi, Carine Davitian, Carine Khater, Paul Chatel, Emilie Pernin, Nizar Aflak, Martin Koskas, Agnès Bourgeois-Moine, Laurence Hamou-Plotkine, Morgane Valentin, Jean-Paul Renner, Carine Roy, Candice Estellat, Dominique Luton
European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 2018, 227: 52-59

OBJECTIVE: Shoulder dystocia is a major obstetric emergency defined as a failure of delivery of the fetal shoulder(s). This study evaluated whether an obstetric maneuver, the push back maneuver performed gently on the fetal head during delivery, could reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia.

STUDY DESIGN: We performed a multicenter, randomized, single-blind trial to compare the push back maneuver with usual care in parturient women at term. The primary outcome, shoulder dystocia, was considered to have occurred if, after delivery of the fetal head, any additional obstetric maneuver, beginning with the McRoberts maneuver, other than gentle downward traction and episiotomy was required.

RESULTS: We randomly assigned 522 women to the push back maneuver group (group P) and 523 women to the standard vaginal delivery group (group S). Finally, 473 women assigned to group P and 472 women assigned to group S delivered vaginally. The rate of shoulder dystocia was significantly lower in group P (1·5%) than in group S (3·8%) (odds ratio [OR] 0·38 [0·16-0·92]; P = 0·03). After adjustment for predefined main risk factors, dystocia remained significantly lower in group P than in group S. There were no significant between-group differences in neonatal complications, including brachial plexus injury, clavicle fracture, hematoma and generalized asphyxia.

CONCLUSION: In this trial in 945 women who delivered vaginally, the push back maneuver significantly decreased the risk of shoulder dystocia, as compared with standard vaginal delivery.


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