West Virginia parents are horrified whenever they learn that their infant has suffered a birth injury. Unfortunately, certain orthopedic injuries are common.
Brachial plexus injury
The brachial plexus is a set of nerves below the collarbone that comprise the area from the neck to the arms. During birth, an infant can suffer nerve injuries when the brachial plexus is overly stretched in one direction while the baby’s head stretches into the other. This is a common birth injury that leads to weakness in the nerves of one arm. Fortunately, it often resolves on its own. In some cases, a baby might need surgery.
A collarbone fracture is a common orthopedic injury seen in infants. During birth, this injury can occur if the baby’s shoulders are stuck in the birth canal or if the doctor uses assistive devices such as forceps. If a baby suffers from this injury, they are often in pain and cry more while having difficulty moving an arm.
Hip dysplasia is also known as a dislocated hip. This injury can happen during a difficult childbirth, but it can also occur due to improper development of the hip joint. In the most serious cases, the baby might need surgery to repair the affected hip.
A femur fracture can affect an infant during childbirth when the leg is twisted. However, this is one of the rarer orthopedic injuries impacting newborns compared to something like collarbone fractures. If a child has this injury, the parents can usually tell when they are changing diapers or while moving the baby.
Although many babies’ orthopedic injuries resolve on their own, some are more serious and might require surgery. Parents should carefully monitor their babies and see their pediatricians for advice.