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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 – Risk Factors

Paralysis, in general, is often caused by an injury. This is also true for infants, but it can also be the result of a medical condition or illness that was not diagnosed or treated in the mother. Many times, the paralysis can be prevented if the risk factors are recognized.

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Risk Factors for Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy

These two conditions affect the arm of an infant, often causing partial or total paralysis. Risk factors are similar for both conditions and include the following:

Elk & Elk
  • Low birth weight, under three pounds five ounces
  • Premature birth
  • More than one birth, i.e. twins, triplets
  • Infection in the mother during pregnancy
  • Use of infertility treatments
  • Complications during birth
  • Mother’s medical conditions
  • Jaundice

Delivery Complications

One of the risk factors that can increase the chances of an infant developing birth paralysis is complications during delivery. If the infant is denied oxygen at any point during the birthing process, it increases the risk of a stroke and other conditions, which could lead to paralysis. In some cases, this paralysis is temporary and will heal itself after a few weeks or months. In other situations, the paralysis may be permanent.

If a doctor uses force during delivery or is forceful with tools such as forceps or the vacuum extractor, there is an increased chance that the baby could be injured and suffer from paralysis. For example, the use of forceps is discouraged in many situations because it forces the baby to move through the birth canal even if they are at an awkward angle. The result may be that nerves in the baby’s system have been damaged, which prevents messages from being sent from and to the brain for the affected area.

It is important to recognize the risk factors for birth paralysis. Attempt to eliminate any of them you can to increase the chance that you will have a healthy baby.