A difficult birth can be a traumatic experience for both mother and child. It can even lead to serious issues, including a condition known as Erb’s palsy. The nerve injury often occurs when a baby’s neck is stretched too far to one side during the delivery and can have lasting effects. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following information on Erb’s palsy and how it can impact your child.

There are a few reasons why nerve injuries happen. Breeched babies, or those facing the wrong way in the birth canal, usually entail a difficult labor. The same can be said of larger babies or deliveries that take longer due to complications. Complications can also cause the person delivering the child to act quickly, which can result in multiple injuries.

There are four different types of nerve injuries your child can sustain during birth. Neurapraxia is a condition where the nerves only sustain minor shocks, and as a result, it usually resolves on its own after about three months. Scar tissue can also form due to nerve damage, and this is known as a neuroma. While it depends on the severity of the damage and the amount of scar tissue, it is possible to recover from a neuroma.

Next is a rupture, which is when the nerve is actually torn as a result of physical trauma or force during delivery. Rupture requires medical intervention to remedy and a child may experience lasting effects as a result. The most severe form of nerve damage is avulsion. This entails the nerve being separated from the spinal cord entirely and can result in the permanent loss of function. While surgery is available, it may not be enough to restore movement to the damaged limb.