Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (BPBI) Risk Factors

A brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI) can cause lasting effects, such as Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy. Klumpke’s palsy is caused when there is injury to the lower brachial plexus while Erb’s palsy is injury to the upper brachial plexus. Both types of injuries range from mild to severe, with various symptoms that can be temporary or can go on to cause a lifelong handicap. 

A 15-year study based out of Colorado aimed to evaluate risk and protective factors for BPBI within the state. The biggest risk factor for a BPBI comes from shoulder dystocia, that occurs during a vaginal delivery when a baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother and the doctor must maneuver the baby out (March of Dimes).  

The second highest risk factor for a brachial plexus injury is an instrumental forceps birth supporting the understanding that if a doctor chooses to deliver by forceps, there is greater risk for injury. Overall the incidence of BPBI has decreased, which the authors credit to an increased awareness of shoulder dystocia and instrumented birth (Lalka, et al, 2019). 

If your baby suffered injuries during delivery, you should speak with an attorney. The legal team at The Holton Law Firm can review your case, help determine if you have a birth injury case, and provide superior representation, if necessary. The legal team at Holton Law Firm is ready to advocate for you and your baby, and we invite you to review our free guide, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries.

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