PeriGen, Inc., the leading innovator of fetal surveillance systems, is launching a patient safety campaign designed to inform pregnant women about shoulder dystocia, a serious childbirth complication. The "Start the Conversation" campaign provides pregnant women with a self-assessment tool that helps determine if they have one or more key risk factors for shoulder dystocia and, if so, encourages them to discuss their findings with their physician.
The campaign also highlights the implications of high weight gain during pregnancy, one of the known shoulder dystocia risk factors.
Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby's shoulder gets stuck under the mother's pubic bone during delivery, preventing the baby from emerging easily from the birth canal. The complication occurs in approximately one in every 100 vaginal births. The delivery techniques necessary to resolve shoulder dystocia, as well as the natural forces of labor and delivery, can lead to injury to the brachial plexus, a group of nerves in the neck and shoulder. This condition occurs in approximately one in 1,000 vaginal births. Brachial plexus injury may lead to lifelong weakness or paralysis in the baby's arm.
"Shoulder Dystocia can be catastrophic, so it is important for pregnant women to learn about this condition and their personal risk factors," said Matt Sappern, PeriGen's CEO. "It is also important for OB/GYN physicians to know there is a widely-vetted tool available to assist them in identifying patients who may be at increased risk for shoulder dystocia with brachial plexus injury so that they can take action and avoid this emergency situation".
The PeriCALM® Shoulder Screen™ is the only patented, web-based tool available today. The Shoulder Screen is administered in program four simple steps: 1) a checklist of key risk factors; 2) data entry of several personal clinical items, including estimated fetal weight; 3) risk estimation; and 4) documentation of discussion with the mother and her preference for delivery method.
Through "Start the Conversation," PeriGen encourages pregnant women to take the first step in the Shoulder Screen program by completing the checklist during their third trimester and speaking with their physician. To date, more than 65,000 patients have already taken the first step, and been screened by their physicians.
"By considering multiple factors, we are now able to help clinicians find the small group of women who are high risk for a severe form of shoulder dystocia with injury to the brachial plexus," said Emily Hamilton, MD, PeriGen's SVP of Clinical Research and the PeriCALM Shoulder Screen inventor. "The challenge was to do this without causing an excessive increase in cesarean births."