Can a brachial plexus birth injury cause mental health problems?

If a mother's pelvis is not properly shaped or is too small and she attempts to have her baby via natural childbirth, then it's possible that her baby will suffer a brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI) during the delivery process.

A Swedish study, recently published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal in March, suggests that children who suffer such injuries as infants have a higher propensity to have mental health issues as teens.

For the purpose of the study, researchers combed through the mental health treatment records of more than 600,000 Swedish children. Of the 1,600 records for kids with BPBIs that were analyzed, those children required treatment using anti-depressants far more often than their peers that weren't afflicted by the same birth injury.

The researchers also found that kids suffering from BPBIs that were also from low-income families tended to have a higher propensity to suffer from mental illness than those from higher-income families.

Teen girls with brachial plexus palsy tended to also suffer from depression on a much larger scale than their male counterparts. Researchers on the study believe that girls are more strongly impacted by mental illness than boys due to a difference in the way they handle trauma and discrimination that comes with their gender.

The research doesn't shed light on whether those with brachial plexus injuries that are able to be treated while the child is still young tend to still develop mental health issues as they age.

What researchers are hoping to take from this research is the ability to anticipate and treat early signs of mental illness in BPBI patients. If your child suffers from brachial plexus palsy, then a Tucson birth injury attorney can advise you of your right to recover past and future medical expenses associated with his or her care.

Source: Romper, "This birth injury may increase a child's mental illness risk, new study finds," Annamarya Scaccia, accessed April 20, 2018

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