The risk factors associated with the occurrence of Erb- Duchenne palsy were examined. Of 22 palsies, 18 were noted among 32,088 nondiabetic gravidas (0.56 per 1000) compared with four among 380 diabetic gravidas (10.5 per 1000), a statistically significant difference. One in six infants of diabetic gravidas who sustained shoulder dystocia experienced an Erb-Duchenne palsy. The incidence of precipitate second-stage labors was high (31.8%) among those infants who experienced the neurologic complication. This labor abnormality is not preventable and may contribute, in many ways, to the neurologic complication. Although recently graduated (less than four years' postresidency training) obstetricians, especially if placed in a high-volume practice, were more likely to experience this adverse outcome than more experienced physicians, even the most senior clinicians delivered infants who were affected.
© 1988 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists