Information for Patients
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Damage to the brachial plexus can cause symptoms such as
- A limp or paralyzed arm
- Lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist
- Lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand
Brachial plexus injuries can happen because of shoulder trauma, tumors, or inflammation. Sometimes they happen during childbirth when a baby's shoulders become stuck during delivery and the nerves stretch or tear.
Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
While childbirth usually goes well, complications can happen. They can cause a risk to the mother, baby, or both. Possible complications include
- Preterm (premature) labor, when labor starts before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy
- Problems with the umbilical cord
- Problems with the position of the baby, such as breech, in which the baby is going to come out feet first
- Birth injuries
For some of these problems, the baby may need to be delivered surgically by a Cesarean section.