If you expect a new baby, you are likely extremely excited. After all, few things are more rewarding than welcoming a new child into the world. Fortunately, because of modern medicine, birth injuries are relatively rare. If your child sustains an injury during birth, though, he or she may develop debilitating paralysis.

Some types of infant paralysis are more serious than others. Before you head into the delivery room, you should understand what causes infant paralysis. You also should know a few things about nerve damage during delivery.

Facial paralysis 

Doctors use a variety of tools and techniques during the birthing process. If a healthcare professional grabs forceps to help facilitate birth, he or she may inadvertently cause facial nerve damage. Fortunately, most infant facial paralysis is temporary. If the trauma is severe, though, your son or daughter may experience lifelong paralysis.

Diaphragm paralysis 

Humans use a diaphragm muscle to facilitate breathing. That is, the muscle moves upward and downward to encourage the lungs to fill with air. During childbirth, outside pressure on an infant’s abdomen may result in diaphragm paralysis. While the condition may be minor, your new baby could develop breathing difficulties.

Erb’s palsy 

Infants have hundreds of nerves in the neck, chest, arms and abdomen. When neck nerves sustain damage during delivery, Erb’s palsy may occur. If a new baby develops the condition, he or she may have difficulty with arm movement. While minor incidents of Erb’s palsy tend to resolve on their own, more serious cases may cause long-term complications.

You have a great deal to think about when preparing to become a new mother. Even though you probably do not have to worry about your infant sustaining nerve damage during childbirth, you should educate yourself about potential risks. By understanding the problems nerve damage tends to cause, you can better prepare for your delivery.