Neonatal brachial plexus palsy with vaginal birth after cesarean delivery: a case-control study

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Mar;208(3):229.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.11.042. Epub 2012 Dec 2.


Objective: The objective was to determine the rate of neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) among women with vaginal birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC) and to compare the peripartum characteristics with control subjects.

Study design: The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit cesarean registry data were used to identify nonanomalous singleton pregnancies with VBAC and NBPP at gestational age of ≥37 weeks (term) and 4 control subjects (matched for gestational age and diabetes mellitus status but without brachial injury). Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results: Among 11,313 VBACs at term, there were 23 women with NBPP (rate of 2.0/1000 women). Newborn infants with NBPP, compared with control infants, were significantly more likely to weigh ≥4000 g (48% vs 10%, respectively; OR, 8.45; 95% CI, 2.58-28.44) and to require admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (30% vs 13%; OR, 12.98; 95% CI, 2.61-72.18).

Conclusion: Women who desire VBAC should be informed about the low rate of NBPP and, if eligible, encouraged to have a trial of labor after cesarean delivery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Injuries / etiology*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Trial of Labor
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean / adverse effects*