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Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral palsy is one of several similar disorders that can affect infants before birth, including epilepsy, learning disorders, and Erb’s palsy, characterized by loss of motion and arm weakness.

According to medical experts, the risk factors for cerebral palsy include low birth weight, premature birth, and multiple births. Twins, triplets, and other multiple births substantially increase the risk of one of the children sustaining damage. In addition, infertility treatments often increase the risks of giving birth to children with cerebral palsy. Other risk factors include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Mother’s bad health
  • Incompatible blood between mother and child
  • Preterm delivery
  • Multiple gestations
  • Infections contracted by the mother during pregnancy
  • A high fever during pregnancy or delivery
  • Exposure of mother to toxic chemicals

The abnormal development of the brain or damage that leads to CP can happen before birth, during birth, within a month after birth, or during the first years of a child’s life while the brain is still developing. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of cerebral palsy in our modern times is birth injury. It usually occurs when the medical staff fails to deliver the infant properly, despite having all the indications. In birth injury cases related to CP, the baby usually has the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck or becomes stuck in the pelvis during birth.

If you suspect your child’s CP diagnosis has anything to do with a birth injury and medical negligence, you have the right to recovery. Most medical malpractice cases settle out of court, although some reach the jury trial stage. If you want justice for your baby and monetary recovery from the responsible parties, you should consult an Erb's palsy lawyer - Birth Injury Lawyers Group for further information. Birth injury lawyers can recommend further steps to take for you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Cerebral Palsy Primary Causes

The Center for Disease Control explains that the basic cause of cerebral palsy is abnormal brain tissue development. It can be caused by physical damage, lack of oxygen during birth or congenital defects that damage the brain’s ability to control muscles. In addition, brain damage can occur from mishandling the birth process and other physical trauma suffered by the infant. The primary causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • Infections During Pregnancy. Various infections of the mother can be passed on to the fetus. These include cytomegalovirus, herpes, rubella, and toxoplasmosis. These infections can spread to the womb and placenta, passing to the developing child's brain.
  • High Fevers. Developing a high fever during pregnancy or birth can affect the unborn child's brain function, resulting in cerebral palsy.
  • Infertility Treatments. Children of mothers who receive certain infertility treatments have an increased likelihood of susceptibility to cerebral palsy. These treatments often result in preterm delivery or multiple births increases the chances of cerebral palsy.
  • Birth Complications. Any birth complications that interrupt the supply of oxygen increase the possibility of the child developing cerebral palsy. At one time, lack of oxygen was thought to be the only cause of cerebral palsy, but that has been disproven.
  • Certain Medical Conditions of the Mother. Thyroid problems, epilepsy, and seizures in the mother can cause cerebral palsy by interrupting the oxygen supply.
  • Incompatible Blood Types Between Mother and Child. Blood type and Rh incompatibility can occur when the mother's blood is different from her child’s. This situation can foster jaundice, a yellowing of the skin caused by a lack of bilirubin. This can cause brain damage unless corrected quickly.
  • Multiple Births. Multiple births can result in crowding and damage to the head of one or more infants. Multiple births also cause increased risk factors for cerebral palsy, including breech birth, low birth weight, and premature delivery.
  • Growth Restriction. Some babies fall below the 2.5 percentile when compared with other infants. Fetal growth restriction can happen for many reasons, but the result is a greater likelihood of developing cerebral palsy.

Getting Sound Advice

Unfortunately, the causes of cerebral palsy aren’t just limited to birth. Abnormal brain development of the infant’s brain can happen during pregnancy, during birth, within a few weeks of birth, or during the first years of a child's life. However, finding the right attorney in a medical malpractice case is crucial for getting compensation and financial support for your family.

An attorney will tell you if you have a case in the first place. Next, they will help you gather evidence, depose witnesses, hire medical experts to testify, and present your case to a judge or a jury to make sure you and your family recover from this tragedy.

About the author:

As a journalist, Leland Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that

people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.

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