Erb’s Palsy: 5 Tips for Parents

Erb's Palsy: 5 Tips for ParentsErb’s palsy is a condition that causes muscle weakness or paralysis in a single arm. The serious medical condition is most often the result of injuries to nerves during childbirth. Parents with children battling this affliction can become understandably stressed by the turn of events.

Taking the time to understand Erb’s palsy may eliminate stress for the parent and set the stage for the child affected by the disease to improve their condition. If your child has been affected, keep reading to learn more about the condition.

Erb’s Palsy Explained

The brachial nexus is the nerve bundle responsible for causing Erb’s palsy when a baby suffers an injury during childbirth. The most likely long-term consequences of the condition are weakness and limited use of one arm. In many cases, the symptoms of Erb’s palsy significantly improve or go away altogether with time. However, the effects of the injuries will cause some children problems over their entire lives.


It usually does not take much time after the birth of a child to recognize signs of Erb’s palsy. One of the first noticeable signs of Erb’s palsy in a newborn is the lack of reflexes in whichever side of the body affected by the injury. Other symptoms include:

  • Partial or complete paralysis in one arm
  • Difficulty using shoulder muscles to lift arm
  • Problems rotating the arm away from the shoulder
  • Problems with bending affected the arm at the elbow
  • Poor circulation in the affected arm
  • Awkward wrist or arm positioning

Erb’s palsy is often preventable and can support a medical malpractice birth injury case. The injury commonly happens when a doctor delivering a baby pulls at the newborn awkwardly. Extenuating factors include a breech birth, exceptionally long labor, and a baby that is a bit larger than the average newborn.

Tips for Parents

Learning that a baby is born with partial or complete paralysis in one arm is a frightening experience. But parents who choose to follow a few tips can set a positive tone as they go about helping the child recover from the setback.

Let Go of Guilt Feelings

Telling a parent to free themselves from feelings of guilt over an injury to a newborn is much easier said than done. However, the parent should understand they are not at fault for trusting a medical professional who made a tragic error.

Reach Out to Others

Parents of a child with Erb’s palsy will benefit from spending time with parents that share similar experiences. New parents are likely to find advice from parents who have already walked a mile in their shoes invaluable. They will also find these parents are more than willing to share this advice with them in most cases.

Take Advantage of Appointments

Doctor appointments provide the opportunity for parents to voice all of their concerns and ask any questions they possess. It may help to jot down notes when a question or concern comes to mind. Parents should also not feel bad when they do not understand the terms their doctor is using. It is best to ask for clarification to ensure there is no misunderstanding regarding anything happening with the child.

Express Emotions

Many people facing trying emotional times will try to hide their emotions from the people who love them the most. But even the strongest people will need a shoulder to cry on from time to time. Loved ones will understand when a parent is feeling overwhelmed by a problem with their child.

Stay Positive

It may become difficult to maintain optimism about the situation facing an injured child at times. But focusing on the positives helps fuel the recovery of an injured child. This fact does not mean that parents should ignore their negative thoughts and feelings. But it does mean that a venting session should lead to a positive outlook and more despair and depression.



South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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