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Ina May Gaskin popularized a solution for stuck shoulders which she learned from traditional midwives. When a baby’s head is born but her shoulders are stuck inside, the mother is helped to flip over onto her hands and knees (if she is not already there). The act of the mother’s rotation often frees the shoulders. Ina May keeps a registry of hands and knees attempts, and both UnderstandingBirthBetter.com and the MANA statistic data bases keep track of shoulder dystocia outcomes. Ina May has found this a very favorable technique.

Indeed, The Gaskin Maneuver is the first of 4 techniques listed in FlipFLOP, a memory aid for shoulder dystocia resolution, which I created.

Alison Bastien writes her frustration at finding out that physicians are often not using the Gaskin Maneuver – even though many acknowledge the usefulness of this technique! Read about the conversations she had one day at a medical seminar discovering the real reason why the Gaskin Maneuver is an underused lifesaver.

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