Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy Risk Factors

Neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) such as Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy occurs when the nerves in the neck or upper arm are stretched or torn. This can cause a weakened arm or even paralysis.  


The cause of NBPP is still poorly understood and hard to predict, with various studies listing differing risk factors. While a palsy can occur after a brachial plexus injury such as shoulder dystocia, 50% of NBPP's occur with no diagnosis of shoulder dystocia (Gherman, 2020). Some studies have shown maternal factors may be at play, but a recent study did not see a link to maternal factors and brachial plexus paralysis.  


Belabbassi and colleagues compared cases of brachial plexus paralysis in newborns to those without to look for risk factors for developing a NBPP. While it was a small study, interestingly they found that “macrosomia, labor dystocia, instrumental vaginal delivery, and prolonged pregnancy were the significant risk factors for neonatal brachial plexus paralysis, while shoulder dystocia, breech deliveries, parity, and cesarean section were not (Belabassi et al, 2020).”  


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 child. 

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