Pregnancy and Childbirth Videos

Birth Injuries: What is Erb’s Palsy, and How is it Avoided?

Create: 08/11/2017 - 08:27

Erb's Palsy essentially damage to the nerves in the neck which control the shoulder and the arm. It most commonly occurs during birth, when a baby becomes stuck and then too much force is used to try and get the baby out, and so the nerves become damaged.
The reason why babies get stuck are because their shoulders are too big to come through their mother's pelvis. Either one or both of the shoulders is therefore caught behind the pelvic bone. It is commonly associated with larger babies who tend to have larger shoulders.
The problem when a baby becomes stuck, and why medical negligence cases result are that the people attending the birth - so the doctors or the midwives - panic. And in the rush to try and get the baby out they pull too hard and so damage the nerves.
The mistakes made are unfortunately common and basic ones. So, for example, pressure is not applied the mother's tummy, which is known as supra-pubic pressure, which in lots of cases just moves the baby's shoulder enough to allow it to come through the pelvis. 
If that does not work, then a procedure called the McRoberts manoeuvre can be tried, and sometimes isn't. This is where the mother's legs are pressed back up against her chest to make the pelvis that bit larger, and again which commonly then allows the baby to come through the pelvis.