How Erb’s Palsy Injuries Can Occur During Labor and Delivery?
Most babies are born without any complications; however, a small percentage of newborns have medical issues that may have been caused at birth, including injuries to nerves and joints. This is especially true in breech deliveries, or forced inductions when an infant’s brachial plexus becomes injured. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located near the shoulder. The nerves connect the physical function of the body to the spinal cord and brain. The brachial plexus is located on both sides of the infant’s body. Therefore, it can be injured when force is used to assist in the baby’s birth by a doctor who may haphazardly use forceps, a vacuum, or their hands to pull an infant who may be stuck in the birth canal during labor. When this occurs, the baby’s neck and shoulders become stretched, and damage to the brachial plexus is likely – but still avoidable.
Babies who suffer from this injury could have lifelong disabilities and cause an irreversible condition called Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is also known by other names such as Erb–Duchenne palsy, shoulder dystocia, or radial nerve palsy. These are all forms of damage to the brachial plexus nerves. As a result, the arm muscles on one side of the body cannot move properly, causing the arm and shoulder to droop. In addition, as children age, they may have ongoing tingling in the hand or arm, making it challenging to participate in sports and efficiently perform simple activities such as eating, grooming, writing, and playing musical instruments.