Q. Baby's neck muscle got damaged during delivery. How long will it take to recover?

Answered by
Dr. Parmar Vishal Himatlal
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 01, 2020

Hello doctor,

We are a bit concerned about our 6-week daughter. The labor was a very traumatic experience with having to be induced and trying natural labor which failed due to her turning on her back at the last minute so we had to go to the theatre to have a forceps delivery which also failed and we ended up having an emergency C section. We know due to the birth trauma she has suffered damage to her neck muscles and can only look to her right and finds it very difficult and painful to turn her head. We are currently visiting the physiotherapist to help her neck, which we have been told it can take a long time to repair.

But the other things we are concerned about are the way she looks at objects i.e. curtains and light fittings and bursts out screaming also. She will be sleeping peacefully and all of a sudden jump out of her arms and legs in the air and screams and cries until she is blue in the face. Also, while she is sleeping or napping she grunts and makes very strange noises. Could there be anything in the hospital doctors or midwives have missed as it is very stressful watching her like this?



Welcome to

I got your concern. Well, based on your history, I can say that due to birth trauma and subsequent consequences she may have airway obstruction. Due to secretions, reflux or abnormal neck position can cause these symptoms. I advise you to monitor her pulse-oximeter saturation 24 hours and not how many times it goes less than 90%.

Due to abnormal neck position and pain, she may find it difficult to see around. Please continue physiotherapy and follow her and if the pain is more you can give Paracetamol for pain relief. Make symptoms diary and take videos of the event which may help the pediatrician to look for any problem. The way she is screaming suddenly it is possible that it is startle reflex. But please take video and show it to the pediatrician.

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