Clavicle (collarbone) fractures are relatively common occurrences after difficult vaginal deliveries.
Often, a baby with shoulder dystocia can suffer a clavicle fracture after the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck in the vaginal canal. Sometimes the baby shows no symptoms at all. Other times, the baby may have difficulty moving the arm.
Some babies also suffer from an injury to the brachial plexus, the bundle of nerves found in the upper arm. These babies are unable to move their arms on their own, and suffer from paralysis of the affected extremity, known as Erb’s palsy. With Erb’s palsy, the arm hangs limply to the baby’s side with the hand turned outward. Some babies recover on their own, while others require therapy and occasionally surgical intervention.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019