What is the brachial plexus?
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that exit the spinal cord at the base of the neck. These nerves carry signals to and from your brain and spine, down your arm. They control movement and sensation for the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist and hand—from the shoulder to the fingertips.
Brachial plexus birth palsy (BPBP)
BPBP is an injury to an infant’s brachial plexus nerves that happens during childbirth. It results in paralysis or loss of movement of the arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand or fingers.
A child with BPBP will move one arm much less than the other. It is rare for both arms to be affected. Sometimes, no one notices for two to three weeks.
BPBP occurs in is about one in every 1,000 births. The most common causes are:
- A difficult birth
- Maternal diabetes
- Large size before birth
- Mother’s history of children born with BPBP
Fortunately, many children with BPBP will naturally recover completely.