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Fetus or Newborn Problems During Delivery

by Julie S. Moldenhauer, MD

If labor does not proceed normally, the fetus or newborn may have problems. The fetus may be in distress (see Fetal Distress), be in an abnormal position or presentation (see Abnormal Position and Presentation of the Fetus), or be slow to start breathing after birth. The fetus's shoulder may get caught in the birth canal (shoulder dystocia—see Shoulder Dystocia). There may be more than one fetus in the uterus (multiple births—see Multiple Births). The umbilical cord may be in front of the fetus (prolapsed umbilical cord—see Prolapsed Umbilical Cord) or wrapped around the fetus's neck (nuchal cord—see Nuchal Cord).