The Connection Between Erb’s Palsy and Shoulder Dystocia

When a mother hears that her newborn baby suffered a birth injury, she is often not prepared for this news and doesn’t know much about birth injuries. So, when a mother hears the terms Erb’s palsy and shoulder dystocia used after her baby is born, she needs to understand the connections between the two birth injuries.  In our years of helping mothers with birth injuries, we have learned many of the answers to the questions you are having right now.  We have created a section to help you find the information about Erb’s Palsy to help with your child’s diagnosis and how to move forward.

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets caught behind the mother’s pubic bone in the birth canal. This is often a scary situation, as doctors and nurses have to act fast and perform maneuvers correctly to get the baby unstuck. This situation can quickly become dangerous if a doctor uses too much force on the baby, causing injuries to the brachial plexus nerves located near the shoulder. Shoulder dystocia injuries can range from mild to severe.

Erb’s palsy is the term used to describe a similar injury. If the brachial plexus nerves are torn or severed at the shoulder and neck during childbirth, then Erb’s palsy can result. This injury is more significant, as the baby may only be able to minimally move – or in some cases not move – its arm due to the significant nerve damage.

Both shoulder dystocia and Erb’s palsy are birth injuries in Florida that are directly caused from excessive force being placed on the infant’s body during childbirth. Both injuries are considered a brachial plexus injury, which may result in lifelong disabilities.

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