"Nerve compression after labour"

About: Wishaw General Hospital / Maternity care Wishaw General Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had a very normal and natural labour in Wishaw General. Immediately after my baby was born, I realised I had significant tingling/pins and needles in my right arm and could not lift the arm properly. I expected it was from leaning over the upright bed to give birth and thought it would go away in a short period of time. When the issue hadnt resolved after several hours, I asked for a doctor to assess it. I was pleased that several orthopedic specialists came to review my injury that night and the following morning. They deduced I had nerve compression from leaning my underarms over the bed for ~1-2 h during the labour.

I was given physio exercises to regain control of my arm. After 8-10 weeks, I had functional use of my arm. Now at 16 weeks, I have almost normal use with minor weakness compared to my left arm, however not the strength as before the injury.

Although I received excellent care following the injury, this could have been avoided quite easily if during the labour I'd been encouraged to shift my weight slightly.

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Response from Janie Thomson, Head of Profession, Physiotherapy Services, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Janie Thomson

Dear Lindfo

I am so glad that you have made a good recovery and are able to enjoy being a mum to your little one. It is a fact that sustained pressure on certain parts of the body can indeed cause some temporary issues with a nerve. I will discuss this with the Womens Health physiotherapy team, who work very closely with our midwifery colleagues, to ensure that we raise awareness, learn from your story and make every effort to avoid this happening with other women in the future.

Thank you for writing to us and best wishes for the future.

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