A brachial plexus is a group of nerves that pass out through the arm. Brachial plexus is a birth injury that occurs when the nerves in the arms and legs are damaged during labor or delivery. Sometimes, the damage to these nerves can cause permanent disability. This is especially true for babies with neurological disorders with brachial plexus birth injuries. This injury can be severe and requires immediate medical care.
Causes of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
There are many causes of brachial plexus injuries, which others may even be contributed by medical negligence. When this happens, it’s best to get a lawyer to help you through the process. The causes can be broken down into two categories: mechanical and traumatic. Mechanical causes include an obstructed labor or delivery or a baby that has been breech or transverse at birth. Traumatic causes include car accidents and other incidents.
In some cases of brachial plexus birth injuries, the baby may have been born before 37 weeks. This can occur when there is bleeding in the uterus during labor or a rupture of the membranes (the membranes surrounding the baby). When this occurs, it can injure nerve roots in the neck. Premature infants are also more likely to be born with low birth weight, making them more susceptible to brachial plexus injuries if their neck muscles aren’t developed enough to support the baby’s head during delivery.
Maternal Sepsis (Infection)
Infections can also lead to brachial plexus birth injuries. The most common type of infection is Group B streptococcal infection, which affects about two percent of pregnant women. Infections such as Group B Strep or E coli can cause inflammation in the shoulder area, which can pressure the nerves that carry signals from your arms down through your torso and back up again into your brain. You may feel weakness or numbness in your arms or hands after delivery even years later! Infection with this bacterium leads to inflammation and scarring of nerves at their attachment sites on bones or muscles. If these nerves become swollen or inflamed after infection, they may press on nearby nerves or cause them to be cut off from the blood supply. This can cause a brachial plexus injury if it happens during birth.
Maternal Anesthesia Overuse / Misuse
The most common cause of brachial plexus birth injury is maternal anesthesia overuse/misuse. The mother may be given anesthesia during labor without being fully informed about the risks of anoxia (oxygen deprivation) to the baby’s nervous system. This can lead to brain damage or even death if the baby’s heart stops beating due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Placenta Previa and Placenta Accreta
Another common cause of brachial plexus birth injury is placenta previa or placenta accreta, which both occur when there is an abnormal attachment between the placenta and uterine wall, resulting in no circulation between the baby and mother. When this happens, it may be impossible for doctors to find an adequate blood supply for the baby if it should be born prematurely (before 37 weeks), so they may choose to perform a cesarean section rather than wait for labor to complete naturally.