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

Learn More

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 – Recovery

Because paralysis at birth can be caused by several conditions, recovery also varies. Paralysis can also range in its severity, which will impact long-term results. Depending on the exact injury or condition, parents can expect a variety of results from treatment.

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Brachial Plexus Injuries

These injuries affect the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that send signals to the muscles in the shoulder, arm, and hand. When damage occurs to one or more of these nerves, paralysis often develops. It can range from mild to severe, and it includes such diagnoses as Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.

Recovery often happens without any intervention for the mildest cases. In other situations, some type of physical therapy may be required or even surgery for the most severe conditions. Much of the time, the infant will regain most or full use of the affected limb. In more severe situations, they may have permanent limited mobility.

Brain Damage

Elk & Elk

Conditions resulting from brain damage before or during birth, such as cerebral palsy, are often permanent. The infant will not regain lost abilities, though therapy can help them adapt to the limitations. Sometimes, treatment can enable them to regain some function, but it is likely to be severely limited.

In most cases, brain damage is irreversible. The treatment plan may help the child improve function, which may make it appear they are improving. However, they will most likely not regain 100 percent ability.

Facial Paralysis

An infant may become paralyzed in the face during delivery if the facial nerves are damaged. Much like brachial plexus injuries, recovery depends on the severity of the injury. Recovery can occur on its own or with the proper treatment.

In some cases, treatment can lessen the impact of the injury, allowing the baby to regain lost function. Even if total recovery does not happen, they can see a vast improvement.

Spinal Cord Damage

Recovery is often unlikely when there is damage to the spinal cord during birth. In some cases, swelling around the spine puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in temporary paralysis. Once the swelling goes down, the baby is able to resume normal function.

Where the spinal cord is damaged, it often cannot be repaired, resulting in permanent paralysis. In these situations, recovery consists of swelling reduction around the site of the injury, but the infant does not regain movement.

Because recovery rates vary so greatly based on the exact cause of birth paralysis, it is important to discuss the likelihood of recovery with the treating physician.

Birth Paralysis – Recovery
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