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Erb’s Palsy

What is Erb’s Palsy?

It is a form of brachial plexus injury. It is an adverse condition caused by physical injury during birth, it occurs when the nerves of the baby’s arms are damaged.

Can physiotherapy help babies with erb’s palsy?

Yes. Physiotherapy focuses on preventing deformity, improving muscle strength and range of movement.

What causes erb’s palsy?

It generally occurs during a difficult labour and can result from the following:

  • Excessively pulling on the shoulder when the baby is being delivered

  • When a breech baby is delivered through the vagina

  • The use of forceps or extraction tools during delivery could damage the nerves of the brachial plexus

  • A large baby size

  • A small maternal size

  • Excessive maternal weight gain

  • Maternal gestational diabetes

  • Second stage of labour lasting for more than an hour

  • A baby with a high birth weight

How do I know if my baby has erb’s palsy?

The most common signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • The affected arm may be limp, held against the side of the body, and bent at the elbow

  • A decreased ability to grip with the hand on the affected side

  • Partial or full paralysis

  • Loss of sensory function in the upper arm of the affected area

  • Loss of motor function in the upper arm in the affected area

  • Arm numbness

  • Impaired circulatory, muscular, and nervous development

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