What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy can either be acquired during birth (Congenital cerebral palsy) or after birth (Acquired cerebral palsy).
Approximately 10 to 20 percent of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy acquired it after birth resulting from some sort of brain damage, brain infections, malnutrition, and/or head trauma during the first few months or years of a child's life.
Congenital cerebral palsy can be caused by these variations of brain damage during pregnancy when the brain is just starting to form or around the time of birth:
- Infection during pregnancy - Rubella, Bacterial Meningitis, etc.
- Jaundice - too much bilirubin in the blood
- Rh incompatibility - blood condition that causes mother's immune cells to attach fetus causing Jaundice
- Oxygen shortage
- Toxicity - Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy
Eighty percent of causes are unknown, but research has shown that most of these causes are preventable and treatable with therapy. Cerebral palsy symptoms are diagnosed by a series of specialized tests conducted by health care professionals.
Did something go wrong?
Chances are you've been told that your child's disability was caused by your body or your family's genes.
That may not be the whole story. Even if something went wrong during pregnancy or delivery, the doctors and hospital have an obligation to provide the appropriate medical care at the appropriate time.
During your pregnancy:
- Did your doctor take extra precautions with this pregnancy becasue a previous pregnancy was complicated?
- Were you sick with a virus or infection like chicken pox or herpes during your pregnancy?
- Was there any bleeding during pregnancy?
- Do you have a condition, such as diabetes, that requires special care, particularly during pregnancy?
- Did you start labor before your due date or weeks after?
- Did your water break 24 hours before delivery?
- Were you given a drug to start labor?
- Was the baby in breech position during delivery?
- Did the doctor have to use forceps or some other instrument to help deliver your baby?
Immediately after birth:
- Did your baby look blue or yellow?
- Did your baby have difficulty breathing?
- Could your baby suck properly?
- Did your baby suffer any seizures or other abnormal actions after birth?