What Puts a Child at Risk for Developing Cerebral Palsy?
There are many risk factors for cerebral palsy. They can include:
- Premature (early) birth
- Low birth weight
- Maternal blood clotting problems
- Inability of the placenta to provide the developing fetus with adequate oxygen and nutrients due to abnormalities of the placenta
- RH or A-B-O blood type incompatibility between mother and infant
- Infection of the mother with viral diseases in pregnancy (e.g. rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis)
- Bacterial infection of the mother, fetus or infant that directly or indirectly attack the infant’s brain
- Prolonged low oxygen delivery to the baby during the birthing process
- Severe jaundice shortly after birth
- Having a major or minor birth defect
- Meconium aspiration (i.e. the baby pooping while in the uterus and breathing in the amniotic fluid that contains the poop causing a pneumonia)
- An infant being distress to the extent that an emergency caesarean delivery is needed
- Newborn seizures
- Newborn low blood sugar
- Multiple fetuses (e.g. twins, triplets…)
It is important to understand that even if a child does have a risk factor for CP; it does not mean that the child will develop cerebral palsy. It just means that the chance of the child having CP is increased. If a risk factor is present, it serves to alert parents and physicians to be very observant to the infant’s development. Conversely, some children with CP have no risk factors.
Does the possibility that your child may develop cerebral palsy influence your behavior as a parent?
Talk to other parents in the My Child Without Limits support community, about how they deal with their concerns that their child will get CP.
Brain Injury Research Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association