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How can an infant sustain a brachial plexus injury during birth?

Bringing a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but sometimes unforeseen challenges can arise during childbirth. 

One such challenge that parents may face is the possibility of their infant sustaining a brachial plexus injury.

What is the brachial plexus?

This is a complex network of nerves located near the neck and shoulder that controls the shoulder, arm and hand muscles. During childbirth, the brachial plexus can sometimes be subject to stress or injury, leading to various complications.

For instance, in cases where the baby’s head and neck are not aligned properly during delivery, excessive force may be applied, potentially causing stress on the brachial plexus. Moreover, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery may increase the risk of brachial plexus injuries.

Recognizing brachial plexus injury

Detecting a brachial plexus injury early enough is crucial for effective intervention. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Weakness or paralysis in the affected arm
  • Absence of muscle control in the hand, wrist or arm
  • Abnormal positioning of the arm
  • Absence of the Moro reflex on one side

Healthcare providers may use various diagnostic tools, including physical examinations and imaging technology, to assess the extent of the injury.

Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment, focusing on improving muscle strength, flexibility and overall function. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair damaged nerves or release tension on the brachial plexus. Occupational therapy can also be used to help infants develop fine motor skills and regain independence in daily activities.

As a mother who has recently given birth to an infant with a brachial plexus injury, you may be wondering if there is legal recourse for your pain and suffering. Involving a legal professional can help you better understand your options.