Birth injuries come in many forms, one of which is facial nerve palsy. Unlike other kinds of palsy, this birth trauma results only in the nerves of the face being affected. Infants with this kind of palsy suffer from the inability to create voluntary muscle movement in the face. This is caused by pressure on the seventh cranial nerve during delivery or just before delivery begins.
Sometimes, this damage isn’t able to be attributed to abuse or neglect of a mother or child during labor and delivery. Other times, it can be linked to issues with the delivery that should have been addressed. For example, a long labor has a higher likelihood of putting pressure on the nerve and causing palsy. Medications used to cause labor and contractions can cause facial nerve palsy, too. Even the epidural used to reduce a mother’s pain can cause a child to suffer from this form of birth trauma.
Your infant will show signs of this trauma right away if it occurred. On the side that has been affected, the child may not be able to close his eye completely or won’t be able to move his mouth in the same way. The face could also appear paralyzed, and in severe cases, this can affect much of the face.
This kind of palsy is one that, fortunately, may be reversible. Many times, it just takes time for the function to come back to the muscles, so your child will need to be monitored. Other times, the paralysis could be permanent, and that’s when you may want to consider taking further action against your medical provider.