Most children who have cerebral palsy are born with it. Risk factors contributing to cerebral palsy before, during, or after birth include:
- Low birth weight: Babies weighing less than 5.2 pounds at birth are at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy
- Multiple births, that is twins, triplets or more babies born together
- Infections in the mother, such as toxoplasmosis, German measles, cytomegalovirus or herpes before her child is born can result in cerebral palsy
- High fever in the mother
- Labor and delivery complications, such as the umbilical cord strangling the baby's neck and restricting the amount of oxygen reaching the newborn's brain
- Falls or accidents that damage the infant's brain
- Seizures in the infant
- Differences in Rh blood type between the mother and child; this most often occurs in countries other than the U.S., where Rh incompatibility is tested for and treated
- Pregnant mothers coming into contact with toxic materials are more likely to have an infant with cerebral palsy
- Severe, untreated jaundice in the newborn
- Infantile seizures
- Mistakes made by healthcare providers before, during or after birth; these can include failing to detect fetal distress, failing to perform a cesarean section when necessary, improper use of forceps or other medical devices, etc.
Risk that Premature Birth Will Result in Cerebral Palsy
As the gestational period declines, the risk of cerebral palsy increases. Innovations in intensive care are allowing younger and younger premature babies to live. However, babies born extremely early, face a higher risk of medical problems that increase the possibility of cerebral palsy.
The location and type of injury to the brain of the cerebral palsy patient determines the kind of cerebral palsy the child suffers. The major types of cerebral palsy are named for the movement problems they describe. The different types include spastic, meaning stiff muscles; athetoid or writhing movements; or ataxic, a less common form associated with problems of balance and coordination. These and other types of symptoms also may occur together.
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice
One of the leading risk factors for the development of cerebral palsy is medical malpractice. This is also one of the most emotional and difficult things to deal with, as parents don't want to find out their child's condition could have been prevented by the doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. When mistakes are made during the birthing process, the responsible healthcare providers should be held accountable.
To seek legal help if you feel your child may have been injured by a medical mistake, contact our cerebral palsy lawyers today. We will evaluate your child's condition to determine the cause and will advocate for you should it be linked to a mistake.