Shoulder Dystocia – Injury to the Nerves

Brachial plexus injury is a well known and sadly a devastating complication of shoulder dystocia. Major nerves exit the spinal cord at each level of the spinal column. Brachial Plexus injury occurs as excessive traction or pulling is employed by the person delivering the baby. Simply put the baby’s head cannot be used as a lever to pull the baby through the birth canal. If excessive force is employed, damage to the spinal nerves supplying the arm will occur.

Eerbs Palsy involves damage to the cervical nerves within the neck resulting in the partial or total paralysis of the arm. This will cause the arm to be limp, to fail to grow and have little function.

Klumpke Paralysis is when this injury only effects the nerves supporting the baby’s hand, which then leads to paralysis of the hand