Would delivering bigger babies early lead to less complications during birth? That’s the question being addressed by an upcoming clinical trial.

Supported by the Erb’s Palsy Group, the three-and-a-half year trial will study 4,000 pregnant women to investigate whether delivering bigger babies earlier could prevent serious complications during labour and beyond.

If a baby is larger than predicted, this can cause problems at birth including difficulty delivering the shoulders after the head has come out. One possible consequence of this difficulty is a form of palsy known as Erb’s Palsy. Our case study explains how this has impacted on the life of someone affected by the condition.

The trial will begin with a two-year recruitment process, looking for 4,000 women carrying large for gestational age babies across 60 maternity hospitals in the UK. The women will be split into two groups – the members of one group will be induced so that their babies are delivered at 38 weeks, and the other group will be a control group where care is given as usual and labour starts naturally.

The team running the clinical trial, a partnership between University of Warwick, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust and the Perinatal Institute, will then look into whether an early birth has led to fewer difficulties with the delivery of the shoulders.

Karen Hillyer, chairperson of the Erb’s Palsy Group said:

We are proud to support the ‘Big Baby Trial’. We currently have over 2,400 families registered as members of our organisation which illustrates how many families are affected by this condition. We are looking forward to the study and hope it will help prevent or at least minimise the effect of Erb’s Palsy on children, mums and families.

For help and advice regarding Erb’s Palsy, please contact our expert clinical negligence team, headed up by James Thompson.

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