Can Bell's Palsy due to birth trauma show up 6 weeks after d


My 2nd son was born at 41.1 weeks on January 30 weighing 8 lbs 11 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. It was a pretty standard delivery. I was scheduled for induction but started having contractions on the way to the hospital that morning. My labor went pretty quickly. I was admitted at 5:30 am and delivered at 2:43 pm. The only "complications" of the delivery (if you call it that) is that I have a 'high posterior cervix' and the docs had difficulty when trying to check me for dilation and effacement and couldn't artifically break my bag of waters. I also had a previous tailbone injury delivering my first child (who weighted 8 lbs 8 oz). Considering this and the pretty average/good size of my baby, here is my question: My baby developed Bell's Palsy at 6 weeks old. The docs here are confused that it didn't show up right after delivery IF it was caused to compression on the nerve in utero or during delivery, or that he's had no preceding infections that could cause inflammation on the nerve. Do you know if Bell's Palsy due to birth trauma can show up up to 6 weeks after delivery? We have an appointment with a pediatric neurologist for a consultation in mid-April. What is your opinion?

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Answered by:
Dr. Nikola Gjuzelov

According to my studies, if Bell’s paralyses was either intrauterine or caused by birth trauma, it would show up right after delivery. It is very important to have the pediatric neurologist identify if paralysis of the facial nerve is peripheral (Bell’s) or central:

-Peripheral facial paralysis (Bell’s) is caused by damage/pressure of the nerve itself or its nucleus and is manifests via: Failure of the lower lip to pull down symmetrically while crying (typical); Failure of any movement on the affected side of the face (total involvement, unusual); Eyelid does not close on affected side, and lower face (below the eyes)...the eyelid appears asymmetrical during crying.

-Central paralysis of the facial nerve is caused by brain cortex damage and there assymetry is present only around the mouth. The eyelid is not affected, so the baby can close the eye.


My 10 year old was delivered using foceps in June '09. We did notice shortly after tha her right was always closed and were concerned with maybe lazy eye? At 6 mos., it was not getting better, but more noticeable that it was in fact her left eye and mouth that were not closing voluntarily. It wasn't discovered to be a facial palsy until she was 3! At 4 the nuerologists wanted to do a nerve graft and optimal results were not probable. We were worried about her symetry to worsen and the possibility of a speech disablilty. She now has grown into it somewhat and the palsy is not at first glance noticeable anymore. Waiting for a breakthrough technology to fall in our laps.
Good luck to you all and God Bless


My son was 6 weeks, 1 day old and his was peripheral, in that, the entire right side of his face was affected. The neurologist did an MRI and he was negative for any tumors or other brain abnormalities. He is now 3 (will be 4 in January) and still has residual Bell's Palsy, noticable in the eye and mouth. I feel that his speech has been affected, somewhat. He has a huge vocabulary but I notice that sometimes it sounds as though his tongue gets in the way when he's speaking. I'm going to discuss it with his doctor when I take him for his next well-child exam at 4.


I ve seen 3 similar cases but after neonatal ventilation.
Prof. Sahar Hassanein
Ain Shams University


My baby's 5 weeks old and we noticed her left eye closes more often than her right side and we thought it was a problem with her left eye, until the eye-specialist told us that the problem is on the right eye not getting closed due to the partial facial paresis. We are yet to get an appointment of a pediatric neurologist.
Wanted to know whether this is common in infants? and also wanted to check on how long it takes for cure. Please help.

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