I found this in a report on shoulder dystocia written by an OB:
Why am I surprised? The guy goes on to list several protocols for managing shoulder dystocia...which maneuvers should be used first, second, etc. Every one of those protocols includes episiotomy and/or symphysiotomy. How on earth can any medical professional read something like the above, and not even begin to think that maybe, just maybe the epidural and "delivery position" are part of the freaking problem???
In 1976, Ina May Gaskin described a maneuver for the resolution of shoulder dystocia that involves placing the gravid mother on her hands and knees. (Bruner, 1998) used this procedure in 82 deliveries complicated by shoulder dystocia and was able to resolve it in 68 cases (82%) with this maneuver alone. The average time needed to move the mother into this position and to complete delivery was reported to be 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, there was no detailed description of fetal and maternal outcome in this report. Also, reports about this procedure have generally been in the midwifery literature, involving a patient population less likely to have epidural anesthesia and thus more likely to be fully mobile.
It may be that the "all-fours maneuver" is merely another means of changing the angle of the symphysis in relation to the stuck shoulder, akin to McRoberts maneuver. Since the all-fours maneuver involves a gravid woman at the end of her pregnancy, exhausted by a long labor, often with an epidural in place, being moved quickly out of her delivery position onto all fours on her bed or on the floor, the practicality of this maneuver for a general obstetrical population is open to question. Unless more data is presented as to its efficacy and utility, it cannot be considered a standard procedure for the resolution of shoulder dystocia.