Recognizing brachial plexus injury in a newborn

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2023 | Birth Injuries

When you deliver a baby in New Mexico, you likely envision leaving the hospital with a healthy, injury-free infant. However, this is not always the case. Certain circumstances raise the risk of your infant suffering a brachial plexus injury during childbirth. This type of injury occurs within a specific set of nerves and typically requires surgery to correct.

According to Healthline, certain babies are more prone to brachial plexus birth injuries than others. Babies with this type of injury often experience numbness, weakness or paralysis in their affected arms or hands.

How often brachial plexus injury occurs in childbirth

Studies show that between about one and three out of every 1,000 babies born across the United States have brachial plexus injuries. In somewhere between about 20% and 30% of cases, the baby experiences injury to all five nerves.

What brachial plexus birth injury looks like

It may prove harder to identify a brachial plexus injury in a newborn than it is in an adult. This may be due to the fact that such injuries may not cause much pain in a newborn. However, newborns that have brachial plexus birth injuries may have limited movement in one arm or hand. Your child may, too, feel less sensation in his or her arm or hand than the typical individual. In severe cases, an infant may experience paralysis in the affected area.

Brachial plexus birth injuries often result from similar factors. A doctor stretching a baby’s neck too far to one side may cause this type of injury. A doctor performing a vacuum extraction or forceps delivery may also cause a brachial plexus birth injury, among other possible causes.


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