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Do you understand facial nerve palsy?

While many parents have heard of facial nerve palsy, few fully understand what this entails. In short, this is a type of birth trauma that leads to the loss of controllable muscle movement as the result of pressure on a particular nerve before or during birth.

The cause of facial nerve palsy can be related to many things. While the cause is typically unknown, there are situations in which a poor decision by a doctor causes this condition. For example, a delivery with the use of forceps may lead to this health condition.

Some other factors that cause facial nerve palsy include: the use of epidural anesthesia, use of medication to induce labor, and a large baby.

Some of the symptoms associated with facial nerve palsy in a newborn infant include:

-- Lower face has an uneven appearance when crying.

-- Eyelid may not close fully on the affected side of the face.

-- Mouth does not act in the same manner on both sides when crying.

-- A lack of movement or no movement on the affected side.

If there is reason to believe an infant has suffered facial nerve palsy, he or she will undergo a detailed physical exam. While not typical, there are times when a nerve conduction study is required to target the location of the injury.

Nobody wants to hear that his or her newborn child is faced with a health concern. This is particularly true if the issue is caused by the negligence of a medical professional. If your newborn is diagnosed with facial nerve palsy, it is important to seek information in regards to the cause.

Source: Medline Plus, "Facial nerve palsy due to birth trauma," accessed April 13, 2016

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