Is My Baby At Risk?

Risk Factors for a Broken Collarbone at Birth

We all expect our birthing experience to be perfect. We will get to the hospital and put on our comfy jersey-knit flowered non-hospital hospital gown. Our practitioner and nurse will walk in together with beaming smiles and calming presences. We will go over our birthing plan with them and then, 3 hours of pain-free labor later, our beautiful child will be in our arms. We will coo at them and they’ll immediately recognize us and smile up at our face.

Ok, so I’ve NEVER seen a delivery that went that way, but hey, we can dream, right?

Aside from all the little things that don’t go according to your birth plan, there are times when things really go wrong. A broken collarbone is one of them. Commonly, shoulder dystocia (a baby getting wedged into the birth canal by its shoulder) and babies over 8lb 12oz are considered at risk for a broken collarbone. We’ll discuss that more in a future blog, or read more at the Merck Manual website.

So, are there things that we can do to avoid a broken collarbone? Let’s take a look at the research.

This study found that babies were at risk for a fractured clavicle based on gestational age (how far along you are in your pregnancy), birth weight, and shoulder dystocia. All things we don’t really have control over.

A 1999 study done at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center took a look at all babies born between 1996 and 1999 with broken collarbones. They found that the risk factors for a broken clavicle were increased age of the mother, birth weight over 8lb 12oz, meconium (baby’s 1st type of poo) passed during labor and delivery, and genetic problems with bones.

So, the pros and the cons.

The bad part is, there aren’t really things you can do to prevent you baby having a broken collarbone at birth. You don’t have control over your baby’s weight gain or when they are born, or the size of your pelvis relative to your baby’s head.

The good news? You can’t control it. It’s not your fault and it’s not anything you did or didn’t do. Relax, and don’t stress about it because you can’t control it, and if it happens, there is help.

Infant Brace

Helping your baby heal

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