Erb’s Palsy awareness, treatment, and prevention 

Erb’s palsy is a condition that develops as a result of childbirth injuries. The damaged nerves in the upper limbs cause it and partially render the child unable to move the limb or sometimes be immobilized. When a baby is being pulled out during childbirth, the brachial plexus can be damaged, or the nerve networks transmit signals to the upper limbs. The head shoulder interval winding causes lesions of the C5 and C6 nerve route, which affects movement and causes paralysis. This condition can resolve on its own depending on the severity or sometimes require some therapy or surgery.

Causes and Symptoms 

During childbirth, the shoulder of the baby may be caught by the pubic bone of the mother. This will stretch or tear nerve networks around the shoulder of the infant. One of the major causes is shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder Dystocia 

This occurs during the headfirst delivery, whereby the head is delivered, but the shoulders get stuck in the mother’s body. This may lead to damage of the nerves around the shoulders, causing partial paralysis around the arm. There are few severe cases where it limits oxygen flow into the brain resulting in brain damage. Erb’s palsy can prevent this through corrective measures such as;

  • Surgery where the doctor cuts the posterior vaginal wall of the mother.
  • The doctor can also put pressure on the lower stomach area of the mother
  • The head of the baby can be carefully turned by the doctor while still inside the mother

Another common cause is during a breech birth, where pressure is mounted on the infant’s raised arms, causing the nerves to stretch or tear. A proper investigation should be done to determine if the condition is a result of medical negligence.


The majority of children recover independently within the first few months, while others may take few years depending on the severity of the injuries. There are a few cases where surgery is needed for a baby to make a full recovery; however, several recoveries have been made through the following treatments;

  • Hydrotherapy: Water is being used for treatment and to relieve pain
  • Occupational Therapy: The fine motor muscles are used for recovery
  • Grafting a nerve:A distant nerve is used to reconstruct damaged biceps
  • Physical therapy: Use of exercise like massage and stretching


The doctor should ensure that the baby’s shoulder does not collide with the pubic bone of the mother. Early symptoms should be taken seriously, and treatment should start immediately to prevent the shoulder movement’s permanent loss and sometimes cause severe disability.

It is common for some to be superstitious about such birth complications that may lead to permanent disabilities. It is also known that every parent wants the best for their children. Thus, it is wise to seek a medical opinion from a licensed doctor before making a decision that your children/child will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

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