Brachial Plexus Birth Injury

A brachial plexus injury is quite common during childbirth and delivery, but severe cases can be cause for concern. The brachial plexus, is a group or network of nerves that can become injured during a complicated birth. Brachial plexus birth injuries are also commonly known as Erb’s Palsy, Brachial Palsy and other similar variations. It is incredibly important that an injury be immediately identified and evaluated so the proper course of remedy can be implemented.

Understanding Brachial Plexus Injuries

During child birth, a baby’s shoulders pass through the birth canal as their head or neck is being pulled.  This process can result  in an injury to the brachial plexus.  If a physician stretches your baby’s shoulders during a head first delivery it can also cause an injury to the brachial plexus nerve network.

Alternatively, injury to the brachial plexus can occur during a breech or feet first birth, if the doctor puts excess pressure on his or her raised arms.

There are various types of Brachial Plexus injury

If your baby is affected in the upper arms, this is commonly referred to as Erb’s Palsy or Erb-Duchenne Paralysis. Minor cases of injury to the Brachial Plexus nerve network can be easily remedied.

The less common injury type is Klumpke Paralysis which affects the lower arm or hand. This may be indicative of a more serious issue and should be immediately reported to your physician.

Common causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s Palsy)

If you feel your baby is lacking movement in the shoulder or arms, or has an absent Moro reflex, this could be a sign that an injury has occurred.  If your baby seems to have his or her arm bent and closely held to their body or hanging limp with a lack of movement – Your child may have suffered an injury to the brachial plexus during childbirth.  It is critical that you seek help immediately!

There are several causes commonly recognized that may result in a Brachial Plexus injury.

  1. Breech births
  2. Use of forceps or extraction tools
  3. Larger size or infant weight
  4. Obesity in Mom
  5. Diabetes in Mom
  6. Other birth complications

In severe cases, the injury can result is a lifetime of pain and suffering, and permanent loss of use to affected shoulder, arm or hand. Nerve injury and damage should be taken very seriously! If you think your baby may have been injured during delivery, you must call me immediately.

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373.

Article Name
Brachial Plexus Injury During Childbirth
Sadly, many things can go wrong during childbirth. Both mother and baby are at risk each and every time a baby is born. It is very important to evaluate your baby after he/she is born. Some issues may not be readily observable immediately upon birth - such is the case with injury to the brachial plexus nerve network that controls arm, shoulder and hand movement, Trust your gut- if something doesn't look right, tell the medical staff immediately and contact a birth injury attorney for advice.
Birth Injuries