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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 – Treatment

Because there are so many different kinds of paralysis that can occur a birth, there is no single treatment plan for the infant. Treatment will often depend on whether the paralysis is temporary or permanent and the severity of the injury. This article looks at some of the typical treatment options for the various types of conditions.

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Brachial Plexus Injuries

For the various brachial plexus injuries, such as Klumpke’s palsy and Erb’s palsy, sometimes recovery can occur with no treatment necessary. In other situations, gentle exercises may be prescribed, which helps the baby recover and regain full use of the affected arm.

Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to certain nerves which cause paralysis of one arm, shoulder or hand. It can range from weakness in the limb to complete paralysis with no movement. Mild cases often heal on their own or with the exercises recommended by the doctor. More severe cases may require physical therapy and even surgery to repair the nerves affected. In the most serious situations, the treatment may focus on helping the infant adapt to limited mobility.

Cerebral Palsy

Elk & Elk

Cerebral Palsy is a condition that occurs before or during childbirth in most cases, which causes damage to the brain. It is irreversible and may require lifelong treatment. With this condition, treatment focuses on maximizing the child’s abilities and helping them adapt to their limitations.

The way the infant is affected by cerebral palsy can vary greatly from seizures to physical and mental limitations. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the symptoms being exhibited. The child may receive occupational or recreational therapy in addition to physical therapy. They may require speech therapy as they get older to help them learn how to speak correctly.

Spinal Cord Injury

When the spinal cord is injured during birth, the infant may be unable to move their legs and arms. If the condition is temporary, it will likely heal itself after the swelling around the spinal cord goes down. If the condition is permanent, no treatment will cause a recovery in most cases. Instead, treatment is focused on teaching the parents how to care for the child and to help the little one adapt to the limitations as they get older.

In some cases, these injuries may be treated with surgery. Surgical intervention most often works where the spinal cord has been damaged but not severed or where there is pressure on it.

Facial Paralysis

This type of paralysis occurs when nerves in the face are damaged during delivery. Medication is often given to help reduce swelling. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to prevent infection and reduce swelling. Sometimes the paralysis may heal on its own. Nerve transfers may help replace damaged nerves and allow messages to pass to the brain.

Procedures are also recommended to reduce the visual impact of the damage. For instance, gold weight placement is often used to help the upper eyelid close properly. While some of these procedures do not cure the paralysis, they can reduce how noticeable it is.

Birth paralysis is a serious condition, which may be reflected through one of many diagnoses. Treatment may focus either on improvement and recovery or on adapting to the limitations, depending on the diagnosis. The goal for all treatments is to help the infant have as normal a life as possible.