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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Birth Paralysis – Causes

When a baby is born, the doctor will run tests to make sure they are healthy and functioning normally. One area of concern is paralysis. Numerous factors during the pregnancy or delivery could cause the baby to be born with one or more areas paralyzed.

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Definition of Paralysis

Paralysis is the loss of movement and sensation in one or more parts of the body. It occurs when the nerves are damaged which send signals to specific muscles. Many times, paralysis is caused by an injury, such as a car accident or another incident. However, infants can be born with paralysis due to a condition or injury during delivery.

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Conditions that are the Cause of Paralysis in an Infant

Arteriovenous Malformations – this condition is a defect along the spinal cord due to a problem with the circulatory system which results in paralysis of one side of the body. Often occurs just before or after birth.

Brachial Plexus Injuries – the brachial plexus is a network of nerves that provide signals to the shoulder, arm, and hand. When one or more of these are damaged, it can result in paralysis to part or all of the arm. Klumpke’s palsy and Erb’s palsy are two conditions under this category.

Mobius Syndrome – this is a congenital disorder that causes paralysis in the cranial nerves, resulting in facial paralysis.

Stroke – a stroke during birth can result in facial paralysis; this often happens because of a lack of oxygen during delivery.

Injuries During Childbirth

While some congenital defects cause paralysis, more incidents result from an injury during delivery. This includes damage to the spinal cord because of too much force being used to remove the infant from the birth canal. Rotating the baby incorrectly as it is delivered can put pressure on the spinal cord, causing damage. Another factor in this situation is the use of certain tools in the birthing process, such as the vacuum extractor or forceps.

The baby may suffer from damage to the brain during delivery. As in the case of a stroke, being deprived of oxygen can lead to paralysis. Trauma during the birthing process can also cause the condition. Once again, incorrect use of birthing tools can lead to paralysis. If the umbilical cord is tangled, it can cause oxygen deprivation.

An infection which is not treated because of lack of testing or inadequate prenatal care can also cause conditions that result in paralysis. The mother may have an infection and transmit it to the baby before birth.

There are numerous conditions that can lead to paralysis. It may be temporary or permanent, but it is frightening for the new parent. If you are a parent of a baby who was born with a case of paralysis, you may be entitled to compensation for the condition. If it occurred due to the fault of medical personnel, they may bear liability for your situation. It is important to seek out legal counsel to determine your next step in situations like this.