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Even the most prepared expecting parents sometimes find that childbirth does not always go according to plan. The baby’s size or position of the mother’s pelvic shape may lead to unexpected birth injuries during delivery. For most babies, birth trauma has no lasting effects on the child’s health and wellbeing. Yet a Swedish study published earlier this year did find a connection between birth injury and mental health issues during the teen years.
Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (BPBI) is a condition where certain nerve roots are damaged during birth, causing impairment of the arm and hand. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden studied 600,000 children with nearly 1,600 of them with BPBI. They found that children with BPBI used medication for mental health issues more often than their peers. Females from low socio-economic status were the most affected by poor mental health. The research poses new questions about the long-term psychological and emotional effects of injuries that happen during childbirth.
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that extend from the spinal cord in the neck and reach down into the arms. These nerves control the shoulder muscles, wrist, and hands, and provide feeling in the arms. When a person’s brachial plexus nerves are cut, torn, or stretched, they may have a temporary or permanent loss of feeling or use of the arms or hands.
BPBI happens when the baby’s brachial plexus nerves are damaged during delivery. Most babies with BPBI recover spontaneously, but nearly 30 percent have some degree of permanent disability. More severe BPBI may leave children unable to move an arm or hand.
According to the Lund University study, teens with BPBI were more likely to use anti-depressants and other medications for mental health issues. Adolescents from low-income families used mental health drugs more than their wealthier peers. Teen girls from poor families were most likely to use mental health medication.
The study’s lead author hopes this new data will increase awareness about the lasting mental health impact of BPBI and other birth injuries. Knowing more about how they are related allows parents and physicians to better support children with BPBI with proactive mental health support well after their physical injury has been treated.
We know that birth injuries not only have long-term physical effects but may also impact a child’s mental health as well. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, many are preventable. If your child’s birth injury was caused by a doctor or hospital error, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim.
The South Jersey birth injury lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. obtain and review all the necessary medical records to determine if medical malpractice was the reason your child was harmed during childbirth. Call 856-354-9444 or contact us online to discuss your case today. We have offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania to serve you.